Natalie Villwock-Witte traveled to San Augustine, Texas in January to report on a rural transit pilot program to the Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG). DETCOG and the Area Agency on Aging launched a pilot program in 2018 to provide monthly vouchers to seniors in five counties to pay for rides to medical appointments, shopping trips, and social events. WTI, in partnership with the National Association of Development Organizations Research Foundation and the USDA, provided technical assistance for the program. Natalie reported that more than 50 area residents aged 60 and older signed up and used the program during the pilot period. “Thanks to the support of the Area Agency on Aging, the program will continue to provide rides to seniors,” said Natalie; “if DETCOG and other partners are able to secure additional funding sources, there may be opportunities to expand the program to serve other populations with transportation needs.”
DETCOG recently highlighted the project presentation on its website. Additional information about WTI’s other NADO technical assistance projects in rural communities is available on the WTI website. The pilot project final report is also available on the SURTCOM/WTI website.
WTI researchers braved heavy snow, transit closures, and the partial government shutdown to attend the 2019 Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. in January. Nonetheless, they had a busy week with many productive opportunities to share their research and collaborate with peers.
A few highlights include:
WTI Director Steve Albert received a certificate of appreciation from the TRB Committee on Transportation Needs of National Parks and Public Lands in recognition of his 12 years of leadership on committee activities.
Three Fellows from the Public Lands Transportation Fellows program had the opportunity to present posters highlighting their current projects:
Corinne Jachelski presented on trail, bicycle, and other alternative transportation upgrades underway at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Colorado.
Dylan Corbin’s poster highlighted his efforts to create a transportation plan that will expand public transportation and alternative transportation access to four sites within the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
Vince Ziols presented on the bicycle network, shuttle services, and water taxis that are enhancing regional access to the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge.
Jaime Sullivan’s workshop on the NCHRP Rural Research Roadmap project attracted an audience of more than 70 attendees interested in her progress report on the identification of the most critical research needs related to improving rural transportation. More than 500 research needs displayed on 20 posters inspired a lively discussion.
Karalyn Clouser and Zach Becker, our UTC Students of the Year (read their profiles here), were honored at a banquet during the opening weekend of the TRB meeting. The weather and transportation delays prevented Zach from attending, but Steve Albert and David Kack were on hand to cheer on Karalyn when she received her award.
Corinne Jachelski presented on trail, bicycle, and other alternative transportation upgrades underway at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Colorado (view poster-pdf).
Dylan Corbin’s poster highlighted his efforts to create a transportation plan that will expand public transportation and alternative transportation access to four sites within the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex (view poster-pdf).
Vince Ziols presented on the bicycle network, shuttle services, and water taxis that are enhancing regional access to the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge (view poster-pdf).
Natalie will be presenting about her recent work; Characteristics & Reported Bicycle & Pedestrian Infrastructure for Communities of Less Than 10,000 People in Maine, Minnesota and New Hampshire. The project and report can be viewed here.
WTI Researchers traveled to Fort McDowell, Arizona last week for the National Rural Intelligent Transportation Systems Conference and Exhibit, held in conjunction with the 25th Anniversary of ITS Arizona, which focused on the theme of “Creating ITS Implementation Solutions for All Communities.”
WTI helped launch NRITS more than 25 years ago, and staff members continue to play a leading role by sharing their expertise at the annual forum. WTI Director Steve Albert opened the conference at the plenary session, presenting a history of NRITS and a eulogy for longtime NRITS champion, Bill Legg of Washington DOT. Later in the conference, Steve led the “Roundtable on Rural ITS,” which offered an overview of the challenges and opportunities facing rural areas interested in developing and implementing new transportation technologies. At the workshop on “Utilizing ITS for Rural Road Safety,” Natalie Villwock-Witte presented the Rural ITS Toolkit, which was recently updated by WTI staff through the National Center for Rural Road Safety. David Kack was a speaker at the “Multimodal Transportation Technology” workshop, where he presented on the Wyoming Intercity Bus Study, which provides a model for finding and filling transit gaps in rural areas, and Doug Galarus spoke at the “Rural ITS Weather Applications” workshop, where he presented on the Aviation Weather Information (AWI) system developed for the California Department of Transportation.
At the annual meeting of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) in Minneapolis in October, WTI Researcher Natalie Villwock-Witte and her research partners at Minnesota Department of Transportation and Bike Minnesota were invited to lead a presentation entitled “Bicycles and Pedestrians: Advocacy, Planning, and Research.” Known as the “The World’s Largest Conference for Women Engineers,” SWE is attended by more than 10,000 engineers, students, and industry leaders.
In September, the Infra Eco Network Europe (IENE) held its International Conference in the Netherlands, focusing on the theme of “Crossing borders for a greener and sustainable transport infrastructure.” WTI’s Road Ecology staff members were front and center throughout the 5-day event, presenting their research and experience on wildlife crossings, habitat connectivity, and related topics to more than 300 attendees from around the world.
Tony Clevenger had the distinction of presenting a keynote address on his 17 years of research in Banff National Park, which IENE described as “one of the best testing sites of innovative highway mitigation in the world.” He also gave a presentation on emerging wildlife mitigation and policy in Latin America. Rob Ament led a workshop and gave a presentation on the impact of international transportation policy on the development of wildlife friendly roads, and gave a “lightening talk” on the potential for using plastic bridges for wildlife crossings. Perhaps the busiest staff member at the conference, Marcel Huijser served on the planning committee for this international event, facilitated a workshop on wildlife mitigation performance, presented on wildlife crossing structures and fencing on US 93, led a lightening talk on the reliability of species identification data, and presented a poster on the impact of short and narrow roads on wildlife vehicle collisions.
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 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.
Each year, the Society of Women Engineers receives more than 1000 submissions to present at its Annual Meeting, known as the “The World’s Largest Conference for Women Engineers.” WTI Researcher Natalie Villwock-Witte and her research partners at Minnesota Department of Transportation and Bike Minnesota were selected to lead a presentation entitled “Bicycles and Pedestrians: Advocacy, Planning, and Research” at the upcoming Annual Meeting in October. Congrats, Natalie!
Montana State University’s Wonderlust program will offer two free public presentations on innovative MSU research at the Belgrade Community Library this month. WTI Senior Research Scientist Craig Shankwitz will speak on driverless cars from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 31. Shankwitz will discuss work on driverless vehicles from the 1950s through today. He will include a current status report and a tutorial on how driverless cars operate, as well as a discussion of what’s next for driverless cars and their passengers.
For more information or to register, visit montana.edu/wonderlust and click on “view all offerings.” There is no fee to attend, but registration is requested as seating is limited.