It’s Never Too Cold for Alternative Transportation in Bozeman!

Logo for Bozeman Commuter Project with sub text "Rethink Transportation" Text overlays on arrows pointing in opposite directions, imply directions of commute. Background graphic of mountains.Winter Bike to Work Day and new campus shuttle promote transportation options

Snow is falling and so are the temperatures, but hearty Bozeman residents never shy away from going outside in the winter.  With that in mind, the Bozeman Commuter Project is sponsoring Winter Bike to Work Day on March 8, 2019 to encourage local commuters to continue (or even start!) cycling to work through the winter months. Participants who register at bozemancommute.org can earn reward coupons for local coffee shops and breweries.  The project also provides cyclists with tips for cycling safely in winter conditions.  WTI is a partner in the Bozeman Commuter project and is helping to promote this event.  “We always get a great response to our commuter challenges in the summer months,” said project coordinator Dani Hess; “we want to keep that momentum going and keep encouraging the folks who choose to get around by bike in the winter months as well.”

 

In other commuter news, the Associated Students of Montana State University have launched a campus shuttle that makes loops around the perimeter of campus every 20 minutes on weekdays from 7:40 a.m. until 5:40 p.m.  The service is free to students, staff, faculty and visitors, so check out the route map and additional information here. WTI has also provided support to this pilot effort through the Bozeman Transportation Demand Management project.  “We’re excited to see the growing interest in transportation options at MSU from student leadership and are happy to be a part of piloting and evaluating new services like the campus shuttle,” said Hess.

February 28 Webinar will present highlights of National Safety Summit

Logo for National Center for Rural Road SafetyThe National Center for Rural Road Safety (Safety Center) is hosting a FREE, 1.5-hour online webinar on February 28, entitled “Bridging the Gap: Recap of Safety Summit #2”.  This webinar will provide a recap of the 2nd National Summit on Rural Road Safety: Bridging the Gap. If you were not able to join us in Savannah, GA in December 2018, then this webinar is for you! Come hear an overview of the most important takeaways from this action-oriented event with interactive sessions to assist attendees on their Road to Zero. More details and registration information are available here.

Pop-up Traffic Circle Planned for Helena, Montana

WTI, Bike Walk Montana, and neighborhood volunteers are teaming up to install a pop-up traffic circle in Helena,Montana in March.  The traffic calming project is designed to slow vehicles on a road near a popular trail head, and to gather public feedback on potential long-term solutions. The Helena Independent Record provided a recent update on the joint effort.  WTI has participated in similar neighborhood traffic calming projects in Bozeman.

Bozeman Commuter Project Launches Pilot Vanpool Program

Riders sought from Three Forks, Livingston and other nearby towns

The Western Transportation Institute (WTI) in partnership with the City of Bozeman and Montana State University is working to reduce the number of drive-alone trips and make more efficient use of current transportation systems. This project aims to connect more people to the places they want to go via bus, walking, biking and ridesharing/carpooling.

As part of that effort, the Bozeman Commuter Project is organizing a pilot vanpool program. Vanpools can save people money, reduce the wear and tear on personal vehicles, and reduce the stress of commuting. The pilot vanpools will be free to users. For each vanpool, project coordinators are looking for 4-9 people with similar destinations and schedules who are interested in trying their commute via vanpool. The specific route and schedule of the vanpool will be determined by the members. In case of necessities such as family illnesses, vanpool members will have access to a guaranteed ride home.  So far, there are 18 people interested from Three Forks, Manhattan, Churchill, Belgrade, and Livingston. A meeting will be scheduled in the next few weeks, to work on specific details, with the intent of starting the vanpools in January.

“Providing transportation options that are convenient, healthy and affordable — in addition to drive alone commuting — is important as Bozeman and the Gallatin Valley grow,” said Vanpool Coordinator Taylor Lonsdale. “By introducing area residents to the many benefits of vanpools, we hope this project will continue and grow, so more commuters can participate.”

For more information and to sign up for a vanpool contact Taylor Lonsdale at WTI. paul.lonsdale@montana.edu or (406) 994-7031.

CHSC Researchers Invited to Present at National Conferences

Annmarie McMahill from Center for Health and Safety Culture (CHSC) will present at the National Prevention Network (NPN) Conference
Annmarie McMahill from Center for Health and Safety Culture (CHSC) will present at the National Prevention Network (NPN) Conference
Two researchers from the Center for Health and Safety Culture (CHSC) will be traveling to major national conferences in the coming weeks to present their research on critical safety topics.

Annmarie McMahill will be presenting at the National Prevention Network (NPN) Conference on Tuesday, August 28, 2018. Her presentation titled, “Reducing Underage Drinking in Montana with Practical Tools that Develop the Social and Emotional Skills of Parents and Their Children,” involves a recent study showing Montana parents with higher social and emotional parenting skills were over six times more likely to engage in best-practices to reduce underage drinking. Her presentation will review social and emotional skills, how they are protective for youth, and a project creating practical tools for parents to reduce underage drinking and strengthen social and emotional skills.


Dr. Nic Ward will present at the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine (AAAM) Scientific Conference
Dr. Nic Ward will present at the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine (AAAM) Scientific Conference
Dr. Nic Ward will present at the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine (AAAM) Scientific Conference in Nashville, TN this October. The AAAM Scientific Conference will focus on the “Haddon Matrix,” which addresses pre-crash, crash, and post-crash related research, as well as topics that explore ways to eliminate road traffic injuries worldwide. Nic’s presentation is titled, “Preliminary data to identify cultural predictors of impaired driving from combining alcohol and cannabis.

AARP Highlights Bozeman Traffic Calming Project in National Publication

In 2017, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) awarded a Community Challenge grant to WTI and the City of Bozeman to purchase a mobile Pop-up Project Trailer, which neighborhoods and local groups can use to work towards safer multimodal streets. WTI and the City, in partnership with volunteers from Big Brothers and the community, used the trailer to install the Tamarack/Tracy traffic calming demonstration project last fall.

Temporary traffic calming installation in Bozeman, Montana with pedestrian crossing marked in temporary paint
Temporary traffic calming installation in Bozeman, Montana

The project is now highlighted on the AARP website, as part of a feature showcasing what the grant winners achieved with their funding. It is also included in AARP’s 2018 publication Where We Live: Communities for All Ages — 100+ Inspiring Examples from America’s Local Leaders.

The traffic calming installation was one component of the Transportation Demand Management partnership between WTI, the City of Bozeman, and Montana State University.

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.
Update: See how the trailer will be used next. WTI helps NW Bozeman neighbors bring their vision for safer streets to life!

Montana selected for CUTC 2020 Meeting

Congratulations to the Small Urban, Rural, and Tribal Center on Mobility (SURTCOM), which was selected to host the 2020 meeting of the Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC). SURTCOM, a University Transportation Center housed at WTI, will hold the 3-day meeting in Big Sky, Montana in the summer of 2020. These events provide an opportunity for UTC Directors from across the country to share ideas and best practices on improving UTC programs and maximizing available resources. Officials from USDOT, which sponsors the UTC program, also attend to provide the directors with program training and updates. “While each UTC might specialize in a particular region or research area, we all share the same goal of trying to maximize the impact of our research,” said SURTCOM Director David Kack; “we’re looking forward to showcasing some of the successes at our UTC and learning a lot from everyone else at the 2020 meeting.”

CUTC celebrated its 40th anniversary at the 2018 meeting earlier this month, when Montana’s selection as the host for 2020 was announced.  WTI Director Steve Albert is a long-time member and former President of the organization. WTI last hosted the meeting in 2006.

Travel Voucher Project Kicks Off in Texas

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.

Ivanhoe, TX announces pilot program meeting on city marquee

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.