New Project: 2018 Transportation Fellows to Serve in National/International Wildlife Refuges

Logo banner for the Public Lands Transportation Fellows Program managed by WTIThe Public Lands Transportation Fellows (PLTF) program provides fellowships to outstanding graduates in a transportation-related field to spend eleven months working directly with staff of Federal Land Management Agencies on key visitor transportation issues. The PLTF program began in 2012 and was modeled after the very successful Transportation Scholars program managed by the National Park Foundation (NPF) that serves the National Park Service (NPS). The program, managed at WTI by P.I. Jaime Sullivan, is mutually beneficial for both participants and agencies: recent masters and doctoral graduates gain a unique opportunity for career development and public service, while public land agencies gain staff support to develop transportation solutions that preserve valuable resources and enhance the visitor experience. The 2018 class of fellows will be stationed at the following three refuges:

  • San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex in San Diego, California.
  • Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge Complex near Denver, Colorado.
  • Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge near Detroit, Michigan.

Once selected, the fellows and their projects will be profiled on the PLTF page of the WTI website. WTI Project page

Travel Voucher Project Kicks Off in Texas

Laura Fay, David Kack and Natalie Villwock-Witte (PI) recently traveled to the Jasper, Texas area for six meetings related to the Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG) transportation voucher program. This pilot project will show how transportation vouchers can be used to provide basic mobility to those who have limited options. Meetings were held in Jasper, as well as Ivanhoe, Newton, Pineland and San Augustine. Similar to many rural areas in Montana, people in the DETCOG area often travel 45 miles or so (one way) for groceries, medical care, and other essential services. Currently, this pilot project is focused on those who are 60 years old or older. The long-term vision is to secure additional funding so that those with low incomes or a disability will also be able to use the voucher program.

Ivanhoe, TX announces pilot program meeting on city marquee

The pilot program should start in May and will include approximately 25 participants. Demand for the vouchers already exceeds existing funding, so data from the pilot project will be used to reach out to potential funding sources. The WTI staff is supporting the DETCOG staff to ensure that this program can grow and meet the needs in this rural part of Texas. The new program was big news in the City of Ivanhoe – the photo shows the City marquee informing community members about the meeting to discuss the voucher program.

Research Pays Off… Again! TR News Publishes Second Article on the Benefits of WTI Research

For the second time in less than six months, TR News magazine has selected a WTI project for its “Research Pays Off” section, which highlights research that has produced tangible and valuable benefits.  “Wyoming Intercity Bus Service Study: Finding and Filling the Gaps in Rural Areas” is featured in the March/April 2018 issue of TR News, published by the National Academy of Sciences Transportation Research Board.  Authored by Principal Investigator David Kack, the article describes a project conducted for the Wyoming Department of Transportation to identify potential Intercity bus routes that would increase access for underserved communities.  The study led directly to the expansion of available services after a transportation provider contacted the Wyoming DOT to initiate a partnership that resulted in new service on one of the identified routes. The full article is posted on the project page.

The November/December 2017 issue of TR News highlighted the One-Stop Shop Traveler Information project in the “Research Pays Off” feature.  This article is also available on the WTI website.

(TR News is copyright, National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; posted with permission of the Transportation Research Board.)

University Transportation Centers Focus on Mobility at D.C. Summit

Image of conference poster describing the work and purpose of WTI's SURLC and SURTCOM centersDavid Kack, WTI’s Mobility and Public Transportation Manager, traveled to Washington D.C. last week to participate in the First Annual National Mobility Summit. This event, sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University, was designed to enable a discussion among all of the University Transportation Centers (UTCs) that focused on the topic of mobility. Nine UTCs representing 48 colleges and universities attended, along with representatives from USDOT, the Department of Energy, and several other mobility related entities (for a total attendance of about 60 people).

David gave a ten-minute presentation on both the Small Urban and Rural Livability Center (SURLC), as well as the Small Urban, Rural and Tribal Center on Mobility (SURTCOM). During a reception, David displayed a Poster and discussed the challenges of providing mobility in rural and tribal areas. Carnegie Mellon University expects this to be an annual event for the next four years.

MSU News features WTI’s Proposal that brings $10.3 million for road and public transit improvements.

Semi Trucks and other vehicles travel along HWY 191 alongside the Gallatin River on the way to Big Sky.
Semi Trucks and other vehicles travel along HWY 191 alongside the Gallatin River on the way to Big Sky.
From MSU News– BOZEMAN – A proposal written by researchers at Montana State University’s Western Transportation Institute has resulted in a $10.3 million federal grant for improving safety and traffic flow on the road leading to the Big Sky community.

The funding comes from one of the most highly coveted and competitive sources of federal transportation dollars: the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program, known as TIGER. Read the full story

http://www.montana.edu/news/17541/wti-proposal-wins-big-sky-10-3-million-for-road-improvements

WTI’s Dani Hess is making the news with Bozeman Commute-A-Thon

The Spring Commute-A-Thon kicked off on Monday March 26, and will continue through Friday, April 6. Coordinator Dani Hess was interviewed by KBZK-TV while promoting the event on the MSU campus on Monday. Watch her interview and the full new story on the KBZK websitehttp://www.kbzk.com/story/37813013/commute-a-thon-competition-kicks-off-in-bozeman

Have you joined the challenge? go to https://bozemancommute.org/#/challenges/5a872dd59584fe20ee7dfe16 to register on the Bozeman Commuter Project website so you can start logging your trips by bus, bike, carpool or on foot!

Screen shot of the Bozeman Commute.org website. Shows commute options after staff and destination are filled in.

MSU is on board for the Spring Commute-A-Thon!

Streamline bus with front mounted bike rack and wheelchair loading ramp deployed.
Streamline bus with front mounted bike rack and wheelchair loading ramp deployed.

Thank you to MSU News Service, which is helping to publicize and promote the upcoming Spring Commute-A-Thon March 26th-April 6th. Last week, MSU News published a feature story about the event that has been highlighted on the MSU website.

Planning to participate? Register here on the Bozeman Commuter Project website and join the challenge!

Get on board for the Spring Commute-A-Thon!

Log your sustainable commutes to win prizes, save money, and find carpool buddies during the two-week Spring Commute-A-Thon March 26th-April 6th. With the MSU semester still underway, and snow still on the ground, there’s no better time to give carpooling, or the Streamline bus a try! Log your bike, walk, carpool and bus trips on the new website, BozemanCommute.org.
Here’s how to get started:
1. Register on the Bozeman Commuter Project website and join the challenge!
2. Select the gray bar at the top of the page to register and join your workplace network (ie: team). If you don’t see your workplace on the drop-down list, scroll down to the bottom of the page to create a workplace network! (If you’d like to create a team as a subnetwork of a larger organization such as MSU or Bozeman Health, contact Dani Hess – daniellehess@montana.edu)
Check out the rules of the Commute-A-Thon
Join an incentive by clicking “Incentives” at the top of the page – complete the required number of trips and be entered to win!
Start logging your trips online or automatically using the Commute Tracker app on your iPhone or Android!