Rob Ament has just returned from a week long meeting in India hosted by the Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP). India currently faces numerous wildlife protection challenges; for example, protected areas are often too small to support viable populations of wide-ranging species, such as elephants and tigers, especially if highways and other development severs habitat connectivity between protected areas. Rob was invited by the Landscape Connectivity in India Working Group to give a presentation and provide his expertise for the workshop, during which participants developed strategies to address the impact of transportation systems on ecological connectivity surrounding various protected areas in the region.
The workshop was held near Nagarhole National Park in the Western Ghats mountain range (a UNESCO World Heritage site) of southwest India. Rob shared these photos from his amazing wildlife viewing opportunity within the National Park.
The Center for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates (CESTiCC) will hold its annual Summer Workshop on Thursday, August 10 in Pullman, Washington at Washington State University. The workshop will provide an opportunity for exchange on each of CESTiCC’s research thrusts and will feature a student poster competition and lectern sessions on a variety of topics related to environmentally sustainable transportation issues and research. If you would like to submit an abstract for presentation or a poster title, please follow the instructions on the event’s flyer. Registration for this is event is free; all attendees and presenters should register online on the CESTiCC Workforce Development Page. For more information on the workshop, please click here. WTI hosted last year’s popular workshop in Bozeman; for questions, you can also contact Laura Fay.
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.
The Transportation Research Board (TRB) Low Volume Roads Committee has selected the Western Transportation Institute to host the 12th TRB International Conference on Low Volume Roads in Montana. WTI proposed the Flathead Valley of northwest Montana (Kalispell/Whitefish) as the venue for the Spring/Summer 2019 meeting, which will bring 150-300 participants and presenters to the area. The Flathead Valley provides an ideal location for conducting field tours of local low volume roads within a 30 minute drive, not to mention the proximity of Glacier National Park. Special thanks to the U.S. Forest Service (Flathead National Forest) and the Northwest Tribal Technical Assistance Program for their letters of support for the WTI application. There will be opportunities for WTI staff to assist during the event, as well as develop papers for publication and present at the conference, host booths (UTCs, Transcend, etc.), and more, so stay tuned for more information.
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, the journal of the Ecological Society of America, has published “Scaling-up camera traps: monitoring the planet’s biodiversity with networks of remote sensors,” which was co-authored by Tony Clevenger of WTI’s Road Ecology program, and 15 colleagues from the United States and Canada. The article documents the growth of remote-camera technology in environmental conservation, and proposes that integrating systems of camera networks on a global scale has the potential to advance many international biodiversity and ecosystem preservation goals.
Robin Steenweg, Mark Hebblewhite, Roland Kays, Jorge Ahumada, Jason T Fisher, Cole Burton,Susan E Townsend, Chris Carbone, J Marcus Rowcliffe, Jesse Whittington, Jedediah Brodie, J Andrew Royle, Adam Switalski, Anthony P Clevenger, Nicole Heim, and Lindsey N Rich. Scaling-up camera traps: monitoring the planet’s biodiversity with networks of remote sensors. Frontiers in Ecolology and the Environment 2017; 15(1): 26–34, doi:10.1002/fee.1448.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has announced the release of the final report for“Mobility Mindset of the Millennial in Small Urban and Rural Areas.” Authored by P.I. Natalie Villwock-Witte and Karalyn Clouser, the report focuses on a survey of residents in four states to understand whether Millennials in small urban and rural communities have the same mobility mindset as those in large cities. The collaborative research was sponsored by the University Transportation Center program, through the Small Urban and Rural Livability Center (SURLC). MnDOT offers an excellent fact sheet on the project, as well as the full report.
Thanks to the WTI staff members who shared photos from the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting, held in Washington, D.C. last week. Numerous staff facilitated workshops, presented their research, or submitted posters.
Natalie Villwock-Witte presided over a TRB session on “Workforce, Millennials, and the Implications of Baby Boomer Retirement.” Session presenters included (from left to right): Dr. Stephanie Ivey (Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Memphis), Joan M. McDonald (most recently former New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner), Natalie, and Yvonne Lopez-Diaz (Human Resources Director and Vice President at HNTB).
Alex Roy (left) and Dan Brooks (right) present posters on alternative transportation on federal lands. Alex and Dan are Transportation Scholars through the Public Lands Transportation Institute.
View Alex’s Poster Alex Roy_TRB Poster-Parking AlternativesL
View Dan’s PosterDan Brooks_TRB Poster-Reducing Barriers to ATS
Just in time for wintry holiday road trips over the river and through the woods, WTI has released a mobile version of the award-winning One-Stop Shop online traffic tool for travelers looking for up-to-the-minute information on weather and road conditions. Montana State University News Service released an extensive feature article on the project, which was highlighted on the MSU webpage last week, and has been picked up by several news organizations. You can read the article here, or try out the tool yourself at http://oss.weathershare.org/m
Read more about the latest phase of the Weathershare project.
Congratulations to the development team, which has put in many long hours creating, expanding, and enhancing this tool since 2014, in partnership with the California Department of Transportation and the Western States Rural Transportation Consortium. This hard working team includes Doug Galarus, Dan Richter, Leann Koon from WTI’s Systems Engineering Development and Integration program, WTI alumni staff member David Veneziano, and Caltrans partners Ian Turnbull and Sean Campbell.
The Journal of Fish Biology has published a study by WTI Road Ecology researcher Matt Blank and his colleagues in the MSU Ecology Department and at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Evaulation of Swimming Performance for Fish Passage of Longnose Dace Rhinichthys Cataractae Using an Experimental Flume” highlights research conducted in a custom research flume constructed at the Bozeman Fish Technology Center. This type of field study helps researchers assess the swimming abilities of rare or declining fish populations, so barriers can be identified and removed and new fishways can be properly designed to allow natural movements. The full article can be read here.
The Road Dust Institute (RDI) has changed its name to the Unpaved Roads Institute (URi) to better reflect the increased interest general unpaved road management issues. We would like to welcome you to our new website. First conceptualized in 2008, we are continually evolving with input and support from our founding partners and the Federal Lands Highway of FHWA. Today, URi is ready to assist industry, local governments, and private landowners with the design and maintenance of our nation’s unpaved roads.