The Bozeman Daily Chronicle recently reported that the City of Bozeman will provide an additional $64,000 to grow services on a busy Streamline bus route that serves both Montana State University and popular shopping districts. In the article, WTI’s Mobility and Public Transportation Program Manager, David Kack, discusses how ridership has increased over the last three years, and options for funding future expansions. The full article is available on the Chronicle website. More information about WTI’s partnerships with the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) and other agencies to develop Streamline 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.
WTI will provide technical assistance to three rural communities and regions to identify and evaluate expanding transportation options, thanks to a new partnership with the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO)’s Research Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). USDA sponsors technical assistance grants to rural communities and regions for transportation development, and NADO’s Research Foundation, working in conjunction with WTI, was selected to receive roughly $500,000 in grants. WTI will receive approximately $330,000 to conduct technical assistance for three locations:
- Lebanon, Missouri is interested in developing a public transportation system. WTI will develop a feasibility study that will outline how to plan, develop, and implement a public transportation system within the City of Lebanon (more project information here).
- In communities served by the Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG), WTI will work with DETCOG to pilot a traveler cheque system intended to provide more mobility opportunities to veterans, persons with disabilities, and older persons. This project is unique in that not only will work and medical needs be addressed, but the system allows users to utilize trips for livability purposes providing they stay within their allotted mileage. The project will include planning, marketing, and public outreach (more project information here).
- In Southwest Colorado, WTI will assist the Southwest Colorado Council of Governments with the development of a fixed route system between Cortez and Durango. The project will include the identification of funding options and development of a sustainability plan (more project information here).
David Kack will head the Southwest Colorado project, and Natalie Villwock-Witte will lead the Lebanon, Missouri and DETCOG projects with the assistance of Karalyn Clouser and Laura Fay, respectively. “WTI has conducted numerous mobility and public transportation studies,” said Kack; “and we’re excited to be working with NADO’s Research Foundation to use our expertise to assist rural communities throughout the country.”
Research Engineer Natalie Villwock-Witte and Research Associate Karalyn Clouser have completed a study for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which compares the travel preferences of Millennials, Generation X, and the Baby Boomer generation. The purpose of this study was to understand how the generational cohorts prefer to access federal lands, particularly their interest in using active transportation modes (such as shuttles, walking, and bicycling) to travel to USFWS Refuges.
To collect the study data, online surveys were administered to residents of California, Colorado, and Texas, three states with large numbers of USFWS Refuges as well as large available sample sizes. One of the unique aspects of the study was that it sought input from the general population within these states, rather than visitors who were already at a Refuge or other federal land.
The findings may provide the USFWS with a better understanding of who visits their refuges now, and how that may change in the future. “Contrary to popular opinion, Millennials may be engaging with federal lands more often than previously understood,” said Principal Investigator Villwock-Witte; “also, Baby Boomers, who in the past have been the most frequent visitors to federal lands, may be less inclined to recreate on them as they age. Almost half of the survey respondents reported physical limitations, and others (i.e. younger generations) the need to accommodate the needs of small children with whom they now travel.”
When published by the USFWS, the final report will be posted to the project page.