The Montana Department of Transportation has released the final reports for two projects by WTI researchers:
- “Evaluation of Effectiveness and Cost-Benefits of Woolen Roadside Reclamation Products.” This research project developed three types of products for study: woolen erosion control blankets (ECBs), wool incorporated into wood fiber compost, and wool incorporated into silt fence. The project, supported by Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) and the Center for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates, compared the wool products’ performance to roadside reclamation products commonly used for revegetating cut slopes. Rob Ament (P.I.) and Eli Cuelho served on the research team. The final report and project summary are available on the MDT website. Additional information and all of the reports related to this project are available on the WTI website.
- “Feasibility of Non-Proprietary Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC) for Use in Highway Bridges in Montana.” Ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) has mechanical and durability properties that far exceed those of conventional concrete. However, using UHPC in conventional concrete applications has been cost prohibitive, costing 20 times that of conventional concrete. The overall objective of the Phase I research was to develop and characterize economical non-proprietary UHPC mixes made with materials readily available in Montana. The research was led by Michael Berry. The final report and project summary are available on the MDT website and additional project information is available on the WTI website.
The Montana Department of Transportation has released the final report for “Investigation of Prefabricated Steel Truss/Bridge Deck Systems,” a WTI and MSU Civil Engineering project led by Damon Fick, Tyler Kuehl, Michael Berry, and Jerry Stephens. The study evaluated a prototype of a welded steel truss constructed with an integral concrete deck, which has been proposed as a potential alternative for accelerated bridge construction (ABC) projects in Montana. Steel truss bridges are relatively light weight compared with plate girder systems, which makes them a desirable alternative for both material savings and constructability. The full report and a summary report are available on the MDT website. Additional project information is available on the WTI website.
The Upper Great Plains Institute at North Dakota State University has released a report that provides information about transit service availability and cost to help the transit industry in the United States meet rural community mobility needs. The information in this report may help managers and lawmakers with policy making, planning, managing operations, and evaluating performance. This report also serves as a national resource for statistics and information on rural transit in the United States. The study was sponsored by USDOT and WTI’s Small Urban and Rural Livability Center (SURLC) and is available here.
TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Research Report 861: Best Practices in Rural Regional Mobility addresses the role of state transit program policies and regional planning agencies in the development of rural regional services. The report provides lessons learned on how to address needs for rural regional mobility, and includes a checklist for developing a rural regional route. It also highlights best practices from a number of states, including Montana. The Montana case study describes WTI’s work with Opportunity Link and North Central Montana Transit to develop regional services between Havre and Great Falls, Montana. The full NCHRP report is available through the Transportation Research Board.
The Center for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates (CESTiCC) has released “The Reliability and Effectiveness of a Radar-Based Animal Detection System.” This final is based on research by WTI Research Scientist Marcel Huijser and international colleagues at the University of SÃo Paulo, Brazil. The project studied the reliability and effectiveness of an animal detection system along U.S. Hwy 95 near Bonners Ferry, Idaho. The system uses a Doppler radar to detect large mammals (e.g., deer and elk) when they approach the highway. The report includes data on the rates of successful animal detections, the impact of the warning signs on vehicle speeds, practical recommendations for operation and maintenance of the system, and suggestions for potential future research. The project was a collaboration among WTI, U.S. Department of Transportation, the Idaho Transportation Department, Sloan Security Technologies, and the University of SÃo Paulo, Brazil. The final report is available on the WTI project page.
Ecology and Evolution has published an article on threats to wolverine populations, which was co-authored by WTI researcher Tony Clevenger. “Cumulative effects of climate and landscape change drive spatial distribution of Rocky Mountain wolverine” describes research in the Canadian Rockies that used camera trapping, genetic tagging, and modeling to investigate whether the interaction of climate change and landscape change may result in declining populations of wolverines.
Citation: Heim N, Fisher JT, Clevenger A, Paczkowski J, Volpe J. Cumulative effects of climate and landscape change drive spatial distribution of Rocky Mountain wolverine (Gulo gulo L.). Ecology and Evolution. 2017;00:1–12.
WTI Road Ecology Program Manager Rob Ament and colleagues Renee Callahan and Hannah Jaicks (both of the Center for Large Landscape Conservation) authored a chapter in the recently published book Biological Conservation in the 21st Century: A Conservation Biology of Large Wildlife. Their chapter is entitled ”Crossroads Conservation: Identifying Solutions to the Cultural Barriers of Transportation Agencies so Internal Champions of Wildlife Crossings Can Thrive,” and summarizes similarities and differences among states regarding their approach to wildlife crossings. It includes results of Hannah Jaicks post-doc work interviewing department of transportation personnel in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming on barriers to building wildlife crossings. This research was sponsored through a partnership with the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative.
Citation: Jaicks, H., Ament, R. and Callahan, R. (2017). Crossroads Conservation: Identifying Solutions to the Cultural Barriers of Transportation Agencies so Internal Champions of Wildlife Crossings Can Thrive in Campbell, Michael O’Neal (editor), Biological Conservation in the 21st Century: A Conservation Biology of Large Wildlife (pp 91 -120). New York: Nova Science Publishers.
Researchers from WTI’s Winter Maintenance program have published “Corrosion of metals exposed to 25% magnesium chloride solution and tensile stress: Field and laboratory studies.” This case study investigated the corrosive effects of chemicals used for snow and ice control operations, to better understand the potential impact on transportation infrastructure and motor vehicles.
Citation: Shi, X., Zhou, G., and Muthumani, A. (2017). Corrosion of metals exposed to 25% magnesium chloride solution and tensile stress: Field and laboratory studies. Case Studies in Construction Materials, vol 7: pp 1-14.
Road Ecology Program Manager Rob Ament and colleagues in the MSU Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences will have an article published in the Spring 2017 edition of Native Plants Journal. “Native plants for roadside revegetation in Idaho” documents their field study to evaluate the success of sustainable roadside revegetation strategies on 16 sites in Idaho.
Citation: Ament, R., Pokorny, M., Mangold, J., and Orloff, N. (2017). Native plants for roadside revegetation in Idaho. Native Plants Journal, vol 8 (1): pp 4-19.
Environmental Connection, the magazine of the International Erosion Control Association, published a feature article about Rob Ament’s wool research in its July 2017 issue. “Bullish for Wool: Using Wool in Erosion Control Blankets Shows Promising Results in Montana Study” summarizes the results of a project funded by the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) and the Center for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates (CESTTiCC). The goal of the field study was to conduct a side-by-side comparison of the performance of wool products with the performance of more commonly used roadside reclamation products (straw/coir ECBs and wood fiber compost). The woolen reclamation products developed for this project demonstrated notable results: all six types of wool erosion control blankets outperformed the control products. Since the project targeted the use of waste wool or other harvested fiber that is substandard or currently unmarketable, the use of this wool for erosion control offers both environmental and economic benefits.
Experimental plots along U.S. Highway 287 near Three Forks, Montana