At the West Region Transportation Workforce Center (WRTWC), the first Research Experience for Teachers in Innovative Transportation Systems (ITS-RET) program is well underway. Ten middle, high school, and community college faculty participants are conducting multidisciplinary transportation research for six weeks at Montana State University this summer. The research topic areas focus on the unique challenges of rural transportation systems and developing solutions to transportation challenges through innovation. In addition to working with faculty and research mentors on research, the ITS-RET participants are translating their research experiences into classroom curricula.
On July 31 and August 1, the teachers were able to implement new teaching materials they developed during a two-day workshop held for middle and high school students. The classroom activities demonstrated what an excellent vehicle transportation is for integrated STEM learning. The young workshop participants were able to hone computational thinking skills during a programming challenge, test the strength of different materials, build and test crash attenuators, and use drones to survey a landscape before designing and building wildlife crossing structures. The classroom modules will be posted to the WRTWC website next month as a resource for other teachers. Teachers interested in participating in the RET program next summer can visit the Center website for additional information: http://wrtwc.org/resources/for-educators/
On May 8, Laura Fay, WTI Program Manager for Cold Climate Operations and Systems, led a training session at the American Public Works Association (APWA) North American Snow Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. As part of the 401 Level Training series, Laura presented on Advanced Liquids use in winter maintenance operations. The North American Snow Conference is a leading national winter maintenance event highlighting the latest innovations, best practices, and successful strategies in winter operations and snowfighting techniques. With an emphasis on education for winter maintenance practitioners, the event packed 50 training events into three days!
On Thursday, March 29, Road Ecology Program Manager Rob Ament will lead a webinar entitled “Evaluation of Effectiveness and Cost-Benefits of Woolen Roadside Reclamation Products” for the Center for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates (CESTiCC) at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. The presentation will focus on Rob’s research, which took a fresh look at wool and explored its potential for incorporation in erosion control blankets (ECBs) and to increase the establishment of vegetation along Montana roadsides after highway construction or other right-of-way disturbances. The project targeted the use of low quality wool that is substandard or unmarketable, thus offering both environmental and economic benefits.
The webinar will be held on Thursday, March 29 at 9:00 a.m. Alaska time (11 a.m. Montana time)
March Webinar – Rural Transportation Planning Organizations.
The National Center for Rural Road Safety (Safety Center) is hosting a free 1.5-hour online webinar entitled “Creating a Rural Transportation Planning Organization to Help on the Road to Zero” on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Mountain Time). This webinar will provide an overview of the FHWA funded RTPO Fact Sheets: an RTPO 101 series and an RTPO Noteworthy Practice, as well as, case studies (including tips and tricks on creation of an RTPO) from Ohio and Washington. For more information and to register, click here.
The Transportation Research Board Committee on Resource Conservation and Recovery (ADC 60) has announced that its summer workshop will be held July 15-17, 2018 in Spokane, WA. This year’s theme will be “Waste Recycling, Upcycling, and Sustainable Transportation.” The call for presentation and poster abstracts is now open, and the deadline is April 9, 2018. Submission information is available here.
Congratulations to the One-Stop Shop Traveler Information project, which was featured in the November/December 2017 issue of TR News Magazine, published by the National Academy of Sciences Transportation Research Board. Caltrans Senior Transportation Engineer Sean Campbell and WTI Principal Investigator Doug Galarus authored the article, entitled “The One-Stop Shop: Traveler Information Tool for Multistate Road Trips,” which was selected for a three-page feature in the “Research Pays Off” section of the magazine. The One-Stop Shop application is an umbrella website that can be used as a primary point of reference for trip planning over an 11-state region. It was created through an ongoing research collaboration that began in 2010 between the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the Western States Rural Consortium (WSRTC), and the Western Transportation Institute. The article describes how the tool developed from a proof-of-concept project to an internet and mobile application that benefits a broad range of users, including long-distance travelers, local and state transportation agency personnel, emergency responders, and commercial vehicle operators. Additional information is available at the WSRTC website and the WTI website.
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.
TR News magazine, published by the National Academy of Sciences’ Transportation Research Board, recently dedicated an entire issue to successful efforts to move research into practice. In the article “Going, Seeing, Showing, and Doing: Low-Tech Technology Transfer Works,” the authors highlighted WTI’s efforts to spearhead the National Winter Maintenance Peer Exchange from 2007 – 2015. Specifically, they note that attendees have “overwhelmingly cited the sharing of best practices and innovations as the most helpful part of the event.”
The article is included in the July/August issue of TR News, which was recently released online (see pages 38-43) or available For Download.
For more information about WTI’s Winter Maintenance projects and activities, click here.
The Center for Health and Safety Culture (CHSC) has announced the dates for its inaugural symposium. From June 20-22, 2018, CHSC will host a symposium in Bozeman, Montana focused on “Exploring How Positive Culture Improves Health and Safety.” Attendees will learn about current research and best practices in transforming culture, by engaging in group discussion, listening to presentations in multiple formats, and creating knowledge together. Additional information is available on the symposium website.
Rural transportation agencies are increasingly addressing safety in their planning areas and often adopt their state’s zero deaths concept to frame their transportation safety activities. To achieve this vision, planners identify not only infrastructure solutions, but also behavioral concerns, such as distraction, impairment, and unbelted drivers/occupants as major issues in rural regions. This free webinar by the National Center for Rural Road Safety will provide participants with information and resources on the role they can play to drive down fatalities and serious injuries through collaboration across the 4E’s, behavioral funding sources, and education campaigns. The webinar will be held Wednesday, November 15, 2017 at 11 a.m. (Mountain Time). An expanded description and registration information is available here.
If you missed the opportunity to attend this or other previous Safety Center webinars, please visit the Archive page which lists all trainings and provides links to recordings of the webinar, presentation slides and other materials. https://ruralsafetycenter.org/training-education/safety-center-trainings/archived-safety-center-trainings/