New Transportation Fellow Arrives at National Wildlife Refuge

Group photos of attendees at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge attending 2019 Fellows orientationThe Public Lands Transportation Fellows program has welcomed its first fellow for 2019-2020! In early July, Naomi Firemen arrived at the Potomac River National Wildlife Refuge Complex for training in her new position.  The Complex encompasses three individual wildlife refuges in the Virginia/Washington D.C. area.  Most of Naomi’s work will focus on improving transportation options at the Occoquan Bay NWR, a 600-acre refuge that is home to many migratory species and is currently expanding its facilities for visitors.  She will also explore opportunities to enhance transportation between Occoquan Bay and the other two refuges within the complex.

The Public Lands Transportation Fellows (PLTF) program provides fellowships to outstanding masters and doctoral graduates in a transportation-related field. Fellows have the unique opportunity to work at a federal land unit to plan or implement a project addressing visitor transportation issues for approximately one year.

Photo Caption: (left to right) Carl Melberg, USFWS Region 5 transportation coordinator; Amanda Daisey, USFWS PRNWRC Project Leader; Nathan Beauchamp, USFWS Transportation Program Analyst; Naomi Fireman, PRNWRC PLTF; Jaime Sullivan, PLTF Manager; Laura Whorton, USFWS Branch Chief of Transportation and Data Management; and Phil Shapiro, STC.

MDT Launches Wildlife and Transportation Webpage

The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) has a new webpage dedicated to facilitating collaboration among the many partners working to reduce animal vehicle collisions and enhance wildlife connectivity.

In December 2018, the Montana Wildlife & Transportation Summit (Summit) was held at Carroll College in Helena, Montana. It was co-convened by the Montana Governor’s office, Montana Department of Transportation (MDT), Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP), Western Transportation Institute (WTI), and Montanans for Safe Wildlife Passage (MSWP). The purpose of the Summit was to bring stakeholders together to strengthen working relationships and share information.  The long-term goal is to develop strategies to plan and implement wildlife accommodations, reduce animal-vehicle collisions, and protect wildlife and their movement across state highways. The emphasis of this first meeting was to build common ground among stakeholders around wildlife and transportation issues in order to build a foundation to engage additional stakeholders and partner on collaborative initiatives.

To encourage and promote future engagement, MDT has created the “Montana Wildlife and Transportation” webpage. It provides more information about the Summit, including presentations by WTI researchers Marcel Huijser and Rob Ament, and a link to the Montana Wildlife and Transportation Summit Final Report.  It will also provide updates on the ongoing activities of the Summit partners, such as committee meetings, guiding documents, and informational resources.

Bozeman Commuter Challenge off to great start with Bike Week!

Twelve WTI and MDT staff members pose with bicycles in front of MSU transportation building.The Bozeman Commuter Challenge kicked off on June 1 with Bike Week.  Staff from WTI and the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) Design Team enthusiastically joined in by leaving their cars at home and cycling to work!

The Challenge runs through June 30, so it’s not too late to join.  Log your bike, walk, bus, or carpool trips all month long! Are you signed up at bozemancommute.org? Head there to register, and check out how it works by reading the Challenge FAQs.

CHSC Releases Training Videos for Health and Safety Professionals

The Center for Health and Safety Culture (CHSC) has released online resources called “Brief Spotlight Videos,” which address key topics on a variety of critical public health and safety issues. The videos provide practical tips and ideas for practitioners who address these issues on a daily basis.

 

 

The Spotlights include:

  • Applying Motivational Interviewing to Advocate for the Positive
  • Meetings 101
  • Medication Assisted Treatment
  • Networks and Buy-Ins
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences
  • Stigma Training Series (six videos)

The Spotlights can be viewed at https://chsculture.org/trainings/brief-spotlight-videos/.

On the Road to Safety – Engaging Partners at National Events

Jaime Sullivan in hard hat and safety vest at NACE 2019 MeetingImproving safety on rural roadways is a multi-faceted challenge – to make progress, it helps to collaborate with many partners.  WTI’s Jaime Sullivan, who is also the Manager of the National Center for Rural Road Safety, has been on the road in recent weeks meeting with key safety partners at national meetings and conferences.

At the April annual meeting of the National Association of County Engineers (NACE), Jaime exhibited the Safety Center booth to promote the Center’s resources, trainings, and initiatives. Montana LTAP Director Matt Ulberg was also in attendance.  NACE, LTAP, the Safety Center, and the West Region Transportation Workforce Center have all been collaborating on the development of a Local Road Safety Certificate that will provide engineers and transportation professionals with specific training on assessing safety challenges and implementing countermeasures.

Photo of nametag and meeting agenda for AASHTO Safety Committee Annual Meeting 2019Jaime then traveled to the Safety Committee meeting of the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO), where she presented an update on the Local Road Safety Certificate program.  She was also invited to give a presentation on the safety components of the NCHRP Rural Research Road Map project, which is identifying and prioritizing the most critical issues facing rural transportation.  “The AASHTO meeting, which was led by Montana DOT Director Mike Tooley, was a great opportunity to get input and recommendations from transportation leaders and practitioners who see the challenges and consequences of safety issues on a daily basis,” said Jaime; “this firsthand input really improves and invigorates our research and training efforts at the Center.”

STEM & Design Camp for Middle School Students: Coming to WTI in Summer 2019

Flyer promoting Mobility Innovations 2019 summer camp for middle school studnetWTI will host two five-day summer camps in 2019 that are free for area middle school students interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), as well as community design and  planning.

Mobility Innovations, which will be held July 15-19 and July 22-26 on the Montana State University (MSU) campus, will integrate STEM topics and provide opportunities for participants to apply design thinking to mobility and transportation issues. Through a variety of activities, the camp will explore topics like community design, public health, sustainable construction materials, wildlife and habitat conservation, advanced technologies, and safety.

Students entering grades 6 through 9 in the fall are invited to attend. The camp will bring Montana teachers, MSU faculty and researchers, and industry guest speakers to campus to share a diverse mix of fun, exploratory, and hands-on activities with participating youth.

The camps are free to participants and will meet from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. Space is limited, and applicants may register for only one of the two available weeks. For more information on the camp and to register, visit the Mobility Innovations registration page.  four students participate in design activity at 2018 summer camp

Traffic Safety Culture Pooled Fund Webinar: Review of Phase 1 and Launch Phase 2

On Thursday, May 9, 2019 at 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm (Mountain Time), the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) and the Center for Health and Safety Culture (CHSC) will host a free webinar on the Traffic Safety Culture Pooled Fund research program.

Growing “traffic safety culture” has been identified as a core strategy by the USDOT Safety Council, FHWA’s Joint Safety Strategic Plan, the National Towards Zero Deaths (TZD) Safety Initiative, and the Road to Zero Coalition. Growing a positive traffic safety culture can support traffic safety goals by reducing risky behaviors and increasing protective behaviors; it can also increase public acceptance of other effective traffic safety programs.

In 2014, MDT initiated a five-year transportation pooled fund program on traffic safety culture, partnering with the CHSC as the principal research entity. Through this program, state DOTs and other stakeholder organizations have conducted cooperative research on the role of traffic safety culture in achieving the Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) vision. To build on initial research success, the members will continue another five-year cycle beginning October 1, 2019. This webinar will introduce the pooled fund program to state DOTs and other traffic safety stakeholders interested in more information or wishing to participate in the new funding cycle. Learn more about the Pooled Fund Program and register for the Traffic Safety Culture webinar.

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.