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.
Presentation by Les Craig from the MSU Innovation Campus.
The West Region Transportation Workforce Center at WTI and Moscow State University for Transport Engineering (MIIT) in Russia have completed a unique, year-long collaboration designed to make transportation in rural communities more accessible to people with disabilities. In both countries, rural transit agencies struggle to meet accessibility requirements because of limited funding and large service areas. After recognizing their mutual goals, the two institutions realized that both would benefit from sharing research findings and other resources. The project was jointly sponsored by the Eurasia Foundation’s University Partnership Program and by the Small Urban and Rural Livability Center.
After WTI researchers collected information about different accessibility training programs, they shared the information with MIIT, as well as with transit providers in the U.S., both on the West Region Transportation Workforce Center website and through a series of webinars. The researchers also compared accessibility education programs and data from surveys of transit providers in their respective countries to identify barriers and successes to providing accessible transportation services. For more information, check out the feature article published by the Montana State University News Service.
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.
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.
WTI’s Taylor Lonsdale will be a presenter for the September Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Webinar: Safe Routes to School in Small Rural Communities: Challenges and Strategies to Accessing Funding. Taylor will be highlighting the work on pathways in Highwood, MT which will be included in an upcoming publication from the SRTS National Partnership.
Date: Tuesday, September 20, 2016 11:00am MST
To register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8785933911303821571
The West Region Transportation Workforce Center, which is housed at WTI, partnered with the Montana Girls STEM Collaborative to co-sponsor and co-organize a Girls STEM Collaboration Forum held at MSU on Thursday, May 19. WTI’s Susan Gallagher presented at the forum, which brought together over 50 formal and informal STEM educators, including representatives from museums, science centers, 4-H, libraries, and afterschool programs. The forum was focused on improving transportation industry collaborations with informal educators and sharing resources to build the STEM talent pipeline. Activities included a girls panel, an industry panel, networking and collaboration opportunities, and presentations and sharing of free transportation and other STEM outreach content and materials. Industry representatives from MDT, FHWA, KLJ, Sanderson Stewart, and NTSB participated in the panel discussion, which focused on what industry representatives can offer to help build out-of-school STEM programming, industry experiences with implementing successful outreach efforts, and what barriers exist or additional resources are needed to build productive education/industry collaborations.
WTI’s Rob Ament will be a featured speaker and panelist for an upcoming webinar, Crucial Habitat Assessment Tools (CHAT) and Wildlife Data. The program is part of the Eco-Logical Webinar Series presented by the GHWA Office of Project Development and Environmental Review. Tuesday, November 12, 2015 1:00pm MT. To register, please visit
David Kack made two presentations at a recent City of Bozeman Transportation Coordination Committee meeting, attended by members of MDT, Gallatin County, City of Bozeman, engineering firms, and local citizens. Kack first presented on the WTI truck study. The Downtown Bozeman Partnership the study, completed in March 2015, provides information on the number of trucks traveling through Downtown, and discusses their impacts, including the increased level of noise due to truck traffic. The study provided information on three potential alternative routes, which can be incorporated into the current Bozeman Area Transportation Management Plan.
The second presentation focused on creating a Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Coordinator position. Leveraging money from the UTC Grant, the Small Urban and Rural Livability Center hopes to partner with Gallatin County, City of Bozeman, and MSU to create a TDM Coordinator position that would focus on strategies to reduce the amount of traffic in the greater Bozeman area. This position would investigate policies and complementary modes such as biking, carpooling, van pooling and transit that could get people out of their single occupancy vehicles.