WTI will provide technical assistance to three rural communities and regions to identify and evaluate expanding transportation options, thanks to a new partnership with the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO)’s Research Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). USDA sponsors technical assistance grants to rural communities and regions for transportation development, and NADO’s Research Foundation, working in conjunction with WTI, was selected to receive roughly $500,000 in grants. WTI will receive approximately $330,000 to conduct technical assistance for three locations:
- Lebanon, Missouri is interested in developing a public transportation system. WTI will develop a feasibility study that will outline how to plan, develop, and implement a public transportation system within the City of Lebanon (more project information here).
- In communities served by the Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG), WTI will work with DETCOG to pilot a traveler cheque system intended to provide more mobility opportunities to veterans, persons with disabilities, and older persons. This project is unique in that not only will work and medical needs be addressed, but the system allows users to utilize trips for livability purposes providing they stay within their allotted mileage. The project will include planning, marketing, and public outreach (more project information here).
- In Southwest Colorado, WTI will assist the Southwest Colorado Council of Governments with the development of a fixed route system between Cortez and Durango. The project will include the identification of funding options and development of a sustainability plan (more project information here).
David Kack will head the Southwest Colorado project, and Natalie Villwock-Witte will lead the Lebanon, Missouri and DETCOG projects with the assistance of Karalyn Clouser and Laura Fay, respectively. “WTI has conducted numerous mobility and public transportation studies,” said Kack; “and we’re excited to be working with NADO’s Research Foundation to use our expertise to assist rural communities throughout the country.”
After a highly competitive selection process, the U.S. Department of Transportion has announced that WTI has been selected as a Tier 1 University Transportation Center. The Small Urban, Rural and Tribal Center on Mobility (SURTCOM) will receive approximately $1.5 million a year for up to five years to lead research that improves the mobility of people and goods in small urban, rural and tribal areas. Projects will address issues such as enhancing access to public transportation services, implementing innovative multi-modal solutions, exploring alternative transportion such as ridesharing, adapting “smart cities” innovations to small communities, and increasing active transportation modes such as walking and cycling. WTI will lead the center in partnership with the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute at North Dakota State University and the Northwest Tribal Technical Assistance Program at Eastern Washington University. Last week, U.S. Senator Steve Daines released a statement congratulating WTI on the the grant award.
Planet Jackson Hole (planetjh.com) has posted a feature article about the wildlife crossing plan that WTI will develop for Teton County, Wyoming. In the article, Jon Mobeck, executive director of the Wildlife Foundation, highlights WTI’s previous work in the area and states that “WTI offers the perfect partnership for Jackson Hole.” The full article is available at http://planetjh.com/2016/10/11/the-buzz-2-wildlife-get-a-brake/
The Jackson Hole News and Guide reports that Teton County Board of Commissioners has selected WTI to complete a wildlife crossing master plan for Teton County’s roads and highways. “County moves on wildlife crossing plan” notes that WTI’s extensive working knowledge of the area and road network led to the selection. For the full story, visit http://www.jhnewsandguide.com/jackson_hole_daily/local/county-moves-on-wildlife-crossing-plan/article_3c48f2fc-1f99-5048-90db-582aa712c8c2.html
See the Project Information
WTI and the Moscow State University for Transport Engineering (MIIT) in Russia received Contract Funding from the Eurasia Foundation’s University Partnership Program for collaborative activities aimed at establishing resource sharing mechanisms and a joint course. Shared resources and coursework will focus on enhancing mobility and equitable access to transportation services for persons with disabilities. (Susan Gallagher and David Kack)