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Federal Lands Transportation Resources

Federal Lands Transportation at WTI

The Federal Lands Transportation Institute (FLTI) is housed within the Western Transportation Institute (WTI) at Montana State University-Bozeman (www.westerntransportationinstitute.org). The FLTI works collaboratively across all of WTI's research areas to provide implementable transportation solutions for federal and public agencies that have responsibilities related to public land management, transportation, and resource protection, including:

  • U.S. Department of Interior (DOI)
  • National Park Service (NPS)
  • Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
  • U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS)
  • U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR)
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)
  • U.S. Forest Service (USFS)
  • U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT)

While many of FLTI's previous projects have been completed in federal lands, FLTI is also available to assist local, regional, and state agencies with their public lands management transportation challenges and solutions as well.

The FLTI is a fee-for-service institute that focuses on developing and implementing "real-world" solutions to transportation challenges. FLTI has extensive expertise and project experience on critical transportation issues facing public lands, with "on-the-ground" knowledge and experience at more than 80 federal land units. Project experience includes:

  • Long-term, multi-modal transportation planning
  • Planning and implementation of alternative transportation facilities (e.g., facilities for bicycles, pedestrians, transit, ferries, etc.)
  • Evaluation of transportation systems including collection and analysis of transportation data
  • Transportation safety enhancements, including safety audits, accident prevention, ITS applications, wildlife mitigation, and safety needs for 2-lane rural highways
  • Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) implementation, operations, and evaluation for federal lands
  • Resource stewardship, including protection of wildlife and habitats
  • Wildlife-vehicle collision mitigation solutions
  • Effective outreach and marketing of transportation services
  • Workforce development and technology transfer
What is Federal Lands Transportation?

Graphic - Describing Federal Lands Manager's challenge to balance Visitor Access/Experience and Resource Protection
Transportation in federal lands is a balance between resource protection and visitor experience/access.

Examples of transportation in federal lands include:

  • Alternative Transportation Systems - Providing services and facilities that offer alternatives to motorized travel (shuttles, bike facilities, walking trails) or that make more motorized travel more efficient and sustainable (ITS, alternative fuels, congestion management).
  • Multi-Modal Integration - Providing private auto, public transportation and non-motorized access to Federal land unit (70% of which are in rural areas), integrating unit transportation services with gateway communities, and serving visitors’ recreational needs (access to trails, traveling with a bike, etc.).
  • Transit System Management - Planning, operating and marketing sustainable transit systems.
  • Parking Management - Addressing periodic parking problems. Some of the biggest issues FLMAs face is the demand for parking facilities outstripping the supply. In some cases alternative transportation can address the issue, but in many cases other approaches must be developed.
  • Traffic Congestion - Providing multimodal approaches to addressing congestion issues. Many public lands face issues of traffic congestion, particularly during periods of heavy visitiation.
  • Management of Off Road Use - Planning for use of FLMA roads and trails by non-traditional users such as ATVs.
  • Access for Underserved Populations - Providing access to youth, those without vehicles, and population groups that are currently underrepresented in visitor numbers.
  • Workforce Development - Providing opportunities for career growth and knowledge transfer for field staff, which are attainable despite limited travel budgets and heavy workloads.
  • Road Ecology - Protecting wildlife and preserving habitats along roadways while enhancing safety by preventing animal-vehicle collisions.
  • Resource Quality - Managing and mitigating threats to air, water and other resources, such as road dust, emissions, and chemical run-off from roadways.
  • Comprehensive Transportation Planning - Developing longer-term or larger scale transportation plans, i.e. corridor plans or regional network plans.
  • Safety - Conducting safety audits to ensure traveler safety in a unique roadway environment: large numbers of unfamiliar drivers; pedestrians and cyclists sharing the roadway; drivers who stop frequently for sightseeing; or driving challenges such as narrow, curvy, or mountainous roads.
  • Operations and Performance - Collecting performance data, evaluating efficiency, identifying gaps in current transportation services, and recommending actions and enhancements.
Services

WTI's Federal Lands Transportation Institute (FLTI) was created to provide federal lands managers with an easily accessible source for transportation resources, technical expertise, and training. The FLTI is available to help federal land managers develop solutions for the specialized transportation challenges that federal lands face, as well as, assist the units with transportation planning in a comprehensive and holistic manner.

Through their extensive experience in federal lands, the FLTI understands that just like rural areas, federal lands face unique transportation challenges which can include:

  • Context Sensitivity - designing and implementing transportation services that are appropriate to the historical, cultural or natural setting.
  • Energy and Resource Conservation - selecting modes, vehicles, and routes that promote energy efficiency, preserve resource quality, and protect wildlife.
  • Visitor Experience - developing transportation options that offer multiple ways to appropriately experience and appreciate the unit, such as non-motorized modes and interpretive enhancements.
  • Access and Multi-modal (e.g., bicycle, pedestrian, transit, ferry, etc.) Integration - connecting and integrating transportation services within the unit to gateway communities and regional travel hubs, in order to facilitate federal land access for a broad range of visitor populations.
  • Workforce Development - attracting new staff to address staffing shortfalls as well as various other workforce development needs, including training.

FLTI staff have expertise in deploying real-world solutions to federal lands challenges and are ready to assist you! Is your unit interested in adding a shuttle service or bike trail, but don’t know where to start? Know you have a congestion issue but not sure how to evaluate it or what to do about it? Need help mitigating animal-vehicle collisions? Are you interested in multi-modal integration, but not sure how?

Let FLTI point you to the information you need, put you in touch with an expert who can talk you through your transportation challenges, research solutions to your federal lands transportation challenges, assist you in deploying a pilot project, help you evaluate a transportation solution in your unit, or provide training to your staff.

To view example FLTI projects, click here.

To view biographical information for FLTI's staff, click here.

To find out how FLTI can help you, email us at flti@coe.montana.edu or call
Jaime Eidswick at (774) 571-3503 

Training

FLTI connects you to up-to-date training on a broad range of relevant transportation issues for Federal Lands. We also offer programs and materials in a variety of formats and venues, whether you want an intensive, in-person workshop, or a cost-effective, flexible training that you can access from your office. FLTI also offers a training option for FLMAs and their partners who want to offer group training on-site. FLTI staff are available to develop and lead short training sessions at your unit.

FLTI has conducted more than eighteen trainings. Examples of past trainings include:

  • Introduction to Alternative Transportation Planning for Federal Land Managers
  • Good Practices to Encourage Bicycling and Pedestrians on Federal Lands
  • Wildlife Issues for Transportation Planning on Federal Lands

To discuss training for your unit, email us at flti@coe.montana.edu or call
Jaime Sullivan at (774) 571-3503.

FLTI offers a biweekly training "e-blast". The "e-blast" consolidates upcoming transportation trainings and conferences from multiple sources and delivers the list directly to your inbox. To sign-up to receive this "e-blast" please send your contact information to flti@coe.montana.edu.

Training Success

  • Trainings are specific to Federal Land Managers
  • Conducted more than 18 trainings with more than 2500 contact hours and more than 1200 attendees
  • Trainings are recorded for access in the future (to view archived trainings click here)
  • Biweekly "e-blast" goes out to more than 900 clients