Laura Fay, David Kack and Natalie Villwock-Witte (PI) recently traveled to the Jasper, Texas area for six meetings related to the Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG) transportation voucher program. This pilot project will show how transportation vouchers can be used to provide basic mobility to those who have limited options. Meetings were held in Jasper, as well as Ivanhoe, Newton, Pineland and San Augustine. Similar to many rural areas in Montana, people in the DETCOG area often travel 45 miles or so (one way) for groceries, medical care, and other essential services. Currently, this pilot project is focused on those who are 60 years old or older. The long-term vision is to secure additional funding so that those with low incomes or a disability will also be able to use the voucher program.
The pilot program should start in May and will include approximately 25 participants. Demand for the vouchers already exceeds existing funding, so data from the pilot project will be used to reach out to potential funding sources. The WTI staff is supporting the DETCOG staff to ensure that this program can grow and meet the needs in this rural part of Texas. The new program was big news in the City of Ivanhoe – the photo shows the City marquee informing community members about the meeting to discuss the voucher program.
Congratulations to the City of Bozeman, one of only three communities across the nation selected to receive State of the Art Transportation Trainings from Transportation for America (T4America). WTI’s Rebecca Gleason served on the team that developed the successful grant application, led by Cathy Costakis of the Montana Nutrition and Physical Activity Program along with Randy Carpenter of Future West, Jim Madden of Mountain Time Arts, with support from Bozeman Mayor Cyndy Andrus. Through this program, Bozeman will receive technical training workshops from T4America on how to partner with local arts leaders and organizations to develop “out of the box” transportation solutions and broaden public support for current or future projects. Bozeman hopes to engage its vibrant arts community into transportation planning efforts across the Gallatin Valley, and in particular, into initiatives to create a first-class regional transit system as the region grows. “We are excited to be selected for this unique program, which is great fit for Bozeman given how rapidly our population is growing,” said Rebecca.
David Kack, WTI’s Mobility and Public Transportation Manager, traveled to Washington D.C. last week to participate in the First Annual National Mobility Summit. This event, sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University, was designed to enable a discussion among all of the University Transportation Centers (UTCs) that focused on the topic of mobility. Nine UTCs representing 48 colleges and universities attended, along with representatives from USDOT, the Department of Energy, and several other mobility related entities (for a total attendance of about 60 people).
David gave a ten-minute presentation on both the Small Urban and Rural Livability Center (SURLC), as well as the Small Urban, Rural and Tribal Center on Mobility (SURTCOM). During a reception, David displayed a Poster and discussed the challenges of providing mobility in rural and tribal areas. Carnegie Mellon University expects this to be an annual event for the next four years.
Thank you to MSU News Service, which is helping to publicize and promote the upcoming Spring Commute-A-Thon March 26th-April 6th. Last week, MSU News published a feature story about the event that has been highlighted on the MSU website.
Planning to participate? Register here on the Bozeman Commuter Project website and join the challenge!
WTI Research Scientist Marcel Huijser was on the road in February, speaking at two major regional wildlife events in Colorado and California. On February 8, he was invited to give the keynote address (“Road Ecology, are we taking the right turns?”) at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Colorado Chapter of the Wildlife Society. On February 21, he spoke at the “Bridges and Biology” workshop hosted by the California Department of Transportation, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). At this event, Marcel led a workshop session called “National and International Perspectives,” which focused on wildlife usage of crossing structures, including how to increase their effectiveness.
To learn more about Marcel’s research, visit the Road Ecology webpage.
Log your sustainable commutes to win prizes, save money, and find carpool buddies during the two-week Spring Commute-A-Thon March 26th-April 6th. With the MSU semester still underway, and snow still on the ground, there’s no better time to give carpooling, or the Streamline bus a try! Log your bike, walk, carpool and bus trips on the new website, BozemanCommute.org. Here’s how to get started:
1. Register on the Bozeman Commuter Project website and join the challenge!
2. Select the gray bar at the top of the page to register and join your workplace network (ie: team). If you don’t see your workplace on the drop-down list, scroll down to the bottom of the page to create a workplace network! (If you’d like to create a team as a subnetwork of a larger organization such as MSU or Bozeman Health, contact Dani Hess – firstname.lastname@example.org)
Check out the rules of the Commute-A-Thon
Join an incentive by clicking “Incentives” at the top of the page – complete the required number of trips and be entered to win!
Start logging your trips online or automatically using the Commute Tracker app on your iPhone or Android!
Earlier this month, WTI Road Ecology Program Manager, Rob Ament, traveled to Nairobi, Kenya for the first African meeting of the Transport Working Group (TWG). Formed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Connectivity Conservation Specialist Group (CCSG), the TWG provides guidance on strategies that avoid, minimize, mitigate or compensate for the impacts of surface transportation systems on wildlife connectivity. The TWG is mobilizing road ecologists and transport professional around the world to develop connectivity-minded infrastructure development guidelines for governments and development banks to adopt.
The meeting took place at the campus of the Africa Wildlife Foundation in Nairobi, Kenya. Members represented consultants, NGOs, government agencies, researchers and academia. The agenda and discussions covered the TWG’s scoping document, work plan, and communications support of TWG, as well as the development of guidance documents and transport mitigation resources. Rob Ament, who serves as co-chair of the group, will help develop a briefing paper for the TWG regarding the Multilateral Development Bank Team and how to engage them in transport projects in Africa as well as on other continents. Rob also gave a presentation about the TWG in Arusha, Tanzania, at another meeting hosted by the CCSG in east Africa.
TR News magazine, published by the National Academy of Sciences’ Transportation Research Board, recently dedicated an entire issue to successful efforts to move research into practice. In the article “Going, Seeing, Showing, and Doing: Low-Tech Technology Transfer Works,” the authors highlighted WTI’s efforts to spearhead the National Winter Maintenance Peer Exchange from 2007 – 2015. Specifically, they note that attendees have “overwhelmingly cited the sharing of best practices and innovations as the most helpful part of the event.”
The article is included in the July/August issue of TR News, which was recently released online (see pages 38-43) or available For Download.
For more information about WTI’s Winter Maintenance projects and activities, click here.
In Bozeman, Montana, local media outlets are helping to bring attention to a temporary traffic calming project led by WTI’s Dani Hess and the City of Bozeman. At the corner of Tracy Avenue and Tamarack Street, volunteers from the neighborhood, and from Big Brothers Big Sisters, along with the City Streets Department helped paint colorful crosswalks and installed pedestrian medians made with plants and straw wattles. The goal is to slow traffic and call more attention to cyclists and pedestrians who share or cross the road, in an area that includes both the Fairgrounds and the local Senior Center.
The installation, which will be in place for one-week, is one component of the Transportation Demand Management partnership between WTI, the City of Bozeman, and Montana State University. This project was also made possible by a mobile Pop-up Project Trailer funded by a grant from the AARP Livable Communities initiative awarded to WTI and the City of Bozeman. Going forward, the trailer will be available for use by other neighborhoods and local groups who want to take the first step in working towards safer multimodal streets in Bozeman.
Dr. Nicholas Ward answers questions for abc2 TV during the Governor’s Conference on Highway Safety in Appleton, Wi. Specifically he discusses the importance of Safety Culture as a tool to reduce traffic related crashes and fatalities. The whole interview can be seen here.