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.
Interested in Road Safety Culture? For an introductory video, watch this video created by the National Center for Rural Road Safety.
At WTI’s annual Summer Transportation Camp (STC), student participants were treated to not one, but two special opportunities to meet and spend time with Montana Governor Steve Bullock. During a morning tour of the Montana Department of Transportation in Helena, the Governor greeted the group and answered questions on transportation and other issues. Later that afternoon, the campers boarded a boat tour of the Gates of the Mountain canyon, and to their surprise, the “celebrity guest” captain for the day was Governor Bullock!
Montana Governor Steve Bullock (center) with STC students at Gates of the Mountain
Each year, WTI hosts the Summer Transportation Camp, a two-week program for high school students to encourage pre-college interest in transportation careers and enhance their academic and professional development skills. During the camp, students live on the Montana State University campus, and participate in a comprehensive academic program, field trips, a career and college counseling component, as well as team-building and sports and recreation activities.
This year, 19 students from across Montana attended the camp. In addition to the exciting day in Helena with the Governor, other activities this year included a “CSI” themed class with a crash scene investigator from the National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB), a coding project with MSU Computer Science graduate students, a tour of the Gallatin Field airport, and the always popular team competition to build and test balsa wood bridges.
STC student teams test the strength of the balsa wood bridges they constructed
Read more about the Summer Transportation Camp, and WTI’s other educational programs.
Marcel Huijser and Rob Ament traveled to Jackson, Wyoming on July 19, 2017 to collect public feedback on a proposed wildlife plan for Teton County. WTI is leading the development of a Wildlife Crossings Master Plan for the county, which will propose strategies for reducing the impacts of roads on wildlife that live in or migrate through the area. At the meeting, Marcel (Principal Investigator) and Rob presented preliminary findings, such as the collision hotspots identified, as well as a number of potential solutions, such as overpasses, underpasses, sensors, and improved lighting. Members of the public who attended the forum had the opportunity to review maps, ask questions, and make suggestions regarding elements of the plan, which is scheduled for completion at the end of the year. The Plan is designed to provide planning guidance to the Teton County Board of County Commissioners.
Marcel Huijser presents a proposed Wildlife Crossings Master Plan at the Teton County Library in Jackson, Wyoming.
The meeting was well-attended by the public and local media. For a more in-depth account, read the feature articles by the Jackson Hole News before and after the event. Project information is also available here.
Rob Ament has just returned from a week long meeting in India hosted by the Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP). India currently faces numerous wildlife protection challenges; for example, protected areas are often too small to support viable populations of wide-ranging species, such as elephants and tigers, especially if highways and other development severs habitat connectivity between protected areas. Rob was invited by the Landscape Connectivity in India Working Group to give a presentation and provide his expertise for the workshop, during which participants developed strategies to address the impact of transportation systems on ecological connectivity surrounding various protected areas in the region.
The workshop was held near Nagarhole National Park in the Western Ghats mountain range (a UNESCO World Heritage site) of southwest India. Rob shared these photos from his amazing wildlife viewing opportunity within the National Park.
Craig Shankwitz spoke to the Montana Traffic Educators Association conference in Great Falls, Montana last week, delivering a presentation on emerging vehicle technologies. In his remarks, he stated that the connected vehicle technologies are more likely to be widely deployed before autonomous (or driverless) vehicles. Connected vehicles communicate to other vehicles or to roadside infrastructure, which enables important updates and alerts about safety, traffic, or road conditions that can be sent directly to one’s car. Craig’s presentation was featured in a TV news story in Great Falls.
Road Ecology Program Manager Rob Ament just returned from a week in the West African nation of Gabon. The World Bank Group invited Rob as an expert speaker for a special meeting of its Global Wildlife Program, which provides more than $130 million in grants to reduce human-wildlife conflicts. Representatives from 19 countries in Asia and Africa that will be receiving funds participated in the meeting. During the meeting, Gabon received notification that its projects were approved and will receive $9 million in funding. Rob gave a presentation on wildlife connectivity and how it is affected by various forms of transportation. He also discussed several specific efforts in which he is involved, including connectivity conservation initiatives by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and long range transportation efforts by the U.S. National Park Service and USFWS National Wildlife Refuges.
Last week, WTI Director Steve Albert traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in the third annual Summit of University Transportation Centers for Safety. UTC Directors from across the country met to exchange ideas on how UTCs can better collaborate to address real world transportation problems and emerging safety issues. This year, the panels and group discussions focused on three topics: rebuilding infrastructure with technology for improved safety, how to safely deploy connected and autonomous vehicles, and key safety challenges for rural transportation. Steve facilitated the panel on rural transportation, and presented an update on WTI’s safety research, with a focus on our new research initiatives for connected and autonomous vehicles.
On Saturday, March 4, students and families had the opportunity to experience a free showing of Dream Big: Engineering Our World at the Ellen Theatre in downtown Bozeman as part of the Bozeman Film Society Science on Screen Film Series. The film showcases the creativity, commitment and compassion of four engineers through an exploration of amazing engineering accomplishments around the world. Dr. Michael Berry, Assistant Professor in the Civil Engineering Department and KLJ Engineer Shari Eslinger, Vice-President of the Montana Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers introduced the film by sharing their personal stories of becoming engineers. After the film, MSU Engineering students led fun, hands-on projects for kids, such as building domes out of marshmallows and toothpicks. The MSU robot that competed in the NASA Robotic Mining Competition also made an appearance!
The film screening in Bozeman was a community initiative, co-sponsored and co-organized by the Bozeman Film Society Science on Screen program, the Montana section of ASCE, KLJ Engineering, WTI, West Region Transportation Workforce Center, MSU Extended University, and the Montana Girls STEM Collaborative. The MSU units involved offer pre-college science and engineering outreach programs that introduce students to potential careers in these fields. “Many students have never considered engineering as a career only because they have no idea of the vast array of opportunities that engineering encompasses,” said WTI Education and Workforce Program Manager Susan Gallagher. “Events like these can open their ideas to a new world of exciting possibilities and we were thrilled to be a part of this collaborative effort.”
WTI’s Craig Shankwitz was part of the 10×10 MSU Innovation Road Show: From Tiny Houses to Honey Bees. Sponsored by the Office of Reasearch and Economic Development, the event provided 10 researchers the opportunitiy to present their expertise on a particular topic in 10 minutes. Shankwitz’s presentation focused on, Driverless Cars: The Evolution of the REVolution was dynamic and engaging. In case you missed it, the entire program was live streamed on Facebook and can be viewed here.
Among other things, Craig is currently working to establish CHAPTA, the Collaborative Human Automated Platooned Truck Alliance in order to address future opportunities and challenges with automated and connected commercial interstate trucking.
On Thursday, March 23 at 6 p.m., the MSU Office of Research and Economic Development will be hosting the “10×10 MSU Innovation Road Show” at the Ellen Theatre in downtown Bozeman. The event will feature 10 researchers from across the MSU campus, who will share their research stories in 10 minute segments. WTI Senior Research Engineer Craig Shankwitz was selected to present his research on autonomous vehicles in a talk entitled “Driverless Cars: The Evolution of the Revolution.” Don’t miss Craig’s talk, or the other interesting topics, which will range from honey bees to tiny houses to environmental history issues in Japan. A list of all speakers is included in the MSU news release.