WTI Deicer Research Presented by Laura Fay at National Ecosystem Institute

Laura Fay presents at National Ecosystems Institute
Laura Fay presents deicer research at national event (photo courtesy of the Cary Institute)

Last week, the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies invited WTI Research Scientist Laura Fay to present an overview of her research on winter maintenance deicers at the Institute’s main facility in Millbrook, New York. Laura’s presentation, entitled “Best Management Practices, a National Perspective,” provided an overview of typical deicers, including how and when they are used. In addition, she highlighted easy to implement best management practices that help transportation agencies reduce the amount of deicers they apply to the road, which in turn reduces the impact of deicing practices to the surrounding environment. The Cary Institute is a nationally and internationally recognized independent research organization, focused on understanding how ecosystems work and identifying factors that drive ecological change.

 

 

WTI Researchers Return from Busy Week at TRB

WTI researchers have returned from a busy week at the National Academy of Sciences Transportation Research Board’s (TRB) Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.  Attracting transportation leaders from around the country, the TRB Annual Meeting is the premier national transportation research gathering of the year.  Many WTI researchers are leaders and members of TRB committees, are selected to lead workshops, or invited to present their research.

TRB also provides an opportunity for graduate students to gain professional presentation skills, and network with transportation researcher and practitioners.  MSU doctoral student Amir Jamali presented two projects on pedestrian safety at a TRB poster session: “Pedestrian Crash Hotspot Identification Using Two-Step Floating Catchment Area Method and Machine Learning Tools,” and “Analysis of Pedestrian Injury Severity Levels for Intersection Crashes in Rural and Small Urban Areas.”  The posters were based on findings from a WTI project to develop a pedestrian safety planning tool, led by Dr. YiYi Wang.

Graduate Student Amir Jamali at TRB Poster Session

WTI Researchers had the opportunity to present research and collaborate with colleagues on topics that included traffic safety culture, crash reduction strategies, unpaved and low volume roads, design features of two-lane highways, transit accessibility, and workforce development:

    • Laura Fay presented “National Updates on Converting Distressed Paved Roads to Engineered Unpaved Roads” at a Lectern Session on Converting Distressed Paved Roads to Engineered Unpaved Roads.  As Host of the 2019 Low Volume Roads conference, she also presented conference updates to the Low Volume Roads Committee, and the Conference Planning subcommittee.
    • Ahmed Al-Kaisy presented on three of his current research topics.  He discussed “Traffic Operations on Rural Two-Lane Highways: A Review on Performance Measures and Indicators” at a session on Uninterrupted Flow; he presented an “Evaluation of Passing Lane Design Configurations on Two-Lane Highways” at a session on Performance-Based Geometric Design: Criteria for Horizontal Curves and Sight Distance; and he discussed an “Investigation of Passing-Lane Effective Length on Two-Lane Highways” at a session on Speed Effects of Highway Design Features.
Kelley Hildebrand-Hall, Laura Fay, Jaime Sullivan, Natalie Villwock-Witte, and Susan Gallagher
  • Nic Ward discussed his research on”ASafe System Approach to Reduce Wrong-Way Driving Crashes on Divided Highways by Applying Access Management and Traffic Safety Culture,” at a poster session on Network Considerations of Access Management.
  • As part of a lectern session on Paratransit, Safety, and Performance-Based Planning: Challenges and Opportunities for Small and Medium-Sized Areas, Jaime Sullivan gave a presentation entitled “On the Road to Zero, We Cannot Ignore Rural.”
  • Susan Gallagher gave presentations on two topics: transit accessibility and transportation workforce development.  She presented “Comparative Approaches to Fostering an Accessible Transportation Environment in the United States and Russia” at a lectern session on Accessible Transit Connectivity and Equity: Local to Global Approaches. She also presented “New Directions for Career Paths in the Maintenance and Operations Workforce” at the Maintenance and Operations Personnel Committee meeting. On the last day of the conference, Susan moderated a break out session during TRB Workshop 873: National Transportation Career Pathways Initiative Stakeholder Engagement: Scoping Transformative Technologies.  Susan’s work in transportation workforce development builds on the initiatives of the West Region Transportation Workforce Center, where she serves as Project Manager.
  • Natalie Villwock-Witte, David Kack, YiYi Wang, and Laura Fay
  • YiYi Wang participated in the ABJ80 Statistical Analysis Committee and judged a doctoral student research competition.

National Motorcycle Advisory Council Holds Kick-off Meeting

The national Motorcycle Advisory Council (MAC), which provides guidance and recommendations to the USDOT Federal Highway Administration, held its first meeting in December 2017.  WTI Researcher Craig Shankwitz, who was invited to serve on the Council, gave a presentation on his research to develop a “smart license plate,”  which could enable vehicle to vehicle communications, such as safety messages regarding the presence and position of motorcycles on the road.  The MAC meeting was covered in detail in a feature article on the online blog Common Tread.

National Public Policy Center Invites WTI Road Ecologist

In late September, Research Scientist Tony Clevenger was invited to speak at the Howard H. Baker Jr Center for Public Policy.  Located at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the Baker Center holds nationally prominent events pertaining to the Center’s three areas of focus: Energy & Environment, Global Security, and Leadership & Government. Previous speakers have included U.S. Ambassadors, private industry CEOs, and renowned policy experts.  Tony was the keynote speaker for the Center’s Energy and Environment Center, and his presentation addressed “The Changing Landscape of Transportation: Designing Roads for Wildlife Conservation.”

WTI Researchers Take Center Stage at National Public Lands Conference

WTI Researchers Address Future of Transportation in Public Lands at National Conference

The Western Transportation Institute played a prominent role in the recent Transportation Research Board (TRB) Conference on Transportation Needs of National Parks and Public Lands, held in Washington, DC from September 11 -13. Steve Albert and Natalie Villwock-Witte served on the planning committee for this national conference, which brought together practitioners from around the country to exchange ideas on how to enhance mobility, environmental stewardship, and visitor expericence in public land settings.  Several researchers were invited to present their work during the three day forum: Tony Clevenger co-led a workshop on wildlife crossings in Banff National Park, Rebecca Gleason and Taylor Lonsdale presented guidance on improving safety on rural roads with both vehicle and bicycle traffic, and Natalie Villwock-Witte gave presentations on both collaborative approaches to road safety plans and generational interest in visiting US Fish and Wildlife Refuges. Linda MacIntyre of the National Park Service led a workshop on congestion management, in which she highlighted the Congestion Management Toolkit developed by Jaime Sullivan and David Kack. Karalyn Clouser’s research project on  using GIS to create a route identification system for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was presented by her BLM co-author T.J. Clifford.  At the end of the conference, Steve Albert led and facilitated the closing session, which addressed future transportation issues and challenges facing public lands.

WTI has a long history of leadership on public lands transportation issues. In 1999, WTI helped create and host “National Parks: Transportation Alternatives and Advanced Technology for the 21st Century,” one of the first national forums to call attention to the unique challenges of developing sustainable and context-sensitive transportation solutions in these environments.  Steve Albert has served on the TRB Committee on Transportation Needs of National Parks and Public Lands since 2002, including six years as Chair of the Research Subcommittee.

Steve Albert leads closing session on the future of transportation in public lands

Katie Dively Presents at National Prevention Conference

Katie Dively of the Center for Health and Safety Culture was invited to speak at the 30th National Prevention Conference in Anaheim, CA on September 12, 2017.  She presented the results of a recent CHSC study aimed at understanding safety citizenship and proposed strategies for increasing prosocial behaviors.  “Safety Citizenship” promotes the concept of instilling a sense of responsibility in everyone for enhancing the safety of others.

Nic Ward Invited to Governor’s Conference on Highway Safety

Nic Ward of the Center for Health and Safety Culture recently traveled to Wisconsin to participate in the Governor’s Conference on Highway Safety. Wisconsin is launching a Zero in Wisconsin Campaign to reduce traffic fatalities, and Nic spoke on the importance of transforming culture in order to achieve sustainable change in safe driving behavior.  You can watch his interview with a local TV station here.

Cold Climate Researchers and Students Exchange Ideas at Summer Workshop

Image of workshop attendees. The workshop attracted participants from numerous western states
The workshop attracted participants from numerous western states

On August 10-11, 2017, the Center for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates (CESTiCC) hosted its annual summer workshop at Washington State University (WSU) in Pullman.  CESTiCC is a USDOT University Transportation Center, led by a consortium that includes the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Montana State University (WTI) and WSU.  The annual forum provides an opportunity for the Center to showcase its projects, and for researchers to exchange ideas on a variety of topics related to environmentally sustainable transportation issues, which spurs collaboration and new directions for upcoming research.

The presentations covered a broad range of topics related to transportation in cold climates, including the properties, durability and longevity of construction materials; winter maintenance practices and products; and impacts of transportation on water and air quality.  Laura Fay, WTI’s Winter Maintenance and Effect Program Manager, presented her research on “Lab Testing of Alternative Deicers and Estimation of Remaining Deicers on Pavement,” and WTI Research Scientist Matt Blank gave a presentation on “Sizing Hydraulic Structures in Cold Regions to Balance Fish Passage, Stream Function, and Operation and Maintenance Cost.”

Image of attendees sitting at tables discussion posters. Students present their research and network with professional researchers at poster session
Students present their research and network with professional researchers at poster session

Six graduate students were also invited to discuss their research in a student poster session and competition, providing an excellent professional development opportunity for young researchers. The second day of the event featured tours of the WSU lab facilities, and a field trip to the Kamiak Butte Park, a National Natural Landmark that boasts more than 150 bird, mammal, and vegetation species.