Shankwitz to speak at Wonderlust event

Portrait of WTI Researcher Craig ShankwitzMontana State University’s Wonderlust program will offer two free public presentations on innovative MSU research at the Belgrade Community Library this month. WTI Senior Research Scientist Craig Shankwitz will speak on driverless cars from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 31. Shankwitz will discuss work on driverless vehicles from the 1950s through today. He will include a current status report and a tutorial on how driverless cars operate, as well as a discussion of what’s next for driverless cars and their passengers.

For more information or to register, visit montana.edu/wonderlust and click on “view all offerings.” There is no fee to attend, but registration is requested as seating is limited.

National Center for Rural Road Safety announces Rural Intelligent Transportation Systems Toolkit

 Screen shot form the National Center for Rural Road Safety Website. Shows some of the categories in the Rural Intelligent Transportation Systems Toolkit.
Is your agency looking for innovative solutions to your most common transportation safety challenges? Are you interested in using technology, but not sure which one best fits the needs of your rural area? Or maybe you’ve considered Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) before, but are afraid they are too expensive or only applicable in an urban setting?
The National Center for Rural Road Safety’s (Safety Center) newly released Rural Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Toolkit can answer these questions and more! Updated and expanded from its 1997 version, the new toolkit contains 42 fact sheets focused on the most common critical needs in rural areas today including: Crash Countermeasures; Traffic Management; Operations & Maintenance; Emergency Services; Surface Transportation & Weather; Rural Transit & Mobility; and Tourism & Travel Information.
Each fact sheet provides detailed information including:
  • A description of the solution,
  • It’s applicability in a rural area,
  • Key components of the system,
  • Useful tips,
  • Examples of implementation,
  • Considerations before implementing,
  • Cost information, and
  • Additional resources.
Explore the new Rural Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Toolkit on the Safety Center’s website.

Webinar: Rural Transportation Planning Organizations

Logo for Nation Center for Rural Road SafetyMarch 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.

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/

National Motorcycle Advisory Council Holds Kick-off Meeting

The national Motorcycle Advisory Council (MAC), which provides guidance and recommendations to the USDOT Federal Highway Administration, held its first meeting in December 2017.  WTI Researcher Craig Shankwitz, who was invited to serve on the Council, gave a presentation on his research to develop a “smart license plate,”  which could enable vehicle to vehicle communications, such as safety messages regarding the presence and position of motorcycles on the road.  The MAC meeting was covered in detail in a feature article on the online blog Common Tread.

TRB Newsletter features MnPass Tolling Lanes Project

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) is featuring a study conducted by WTI for the Minnesota Department of Transportation in its national newsletter. “Refining Return on Investment Methodology/Tool for MnPass” was a cost-benefit study led by Laura Fay, Na Cui, Paul Morris, Anbu Muthumani, and Ashley Kroon, to help the Minnesota Department of Transportation evaluate whether their MnPass toll lanes system helps to relieve traffic congestion and manage increase travel demand.

Safety Center Webinar: Achieving Safety Results by Addressing Behavioral Issues.

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/

MDT Highlights WTI Research in Fall Newsletter

Western Transportation Institute (WTI) research is prominently featured in Solutions, the research newsletter of the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT). Three projects that WTI researchers completed on behalf of MDT are highlighted in the current issue:

  • The lead story is an in-depth discussion of “Exploring Traffic Safety Citizenship,” research led by Jay Otto, Kari Finley, and Nic Ward of the Center for Health and Safety Culture.  Traffic safety citizenship is an approach to safety that aims to encourage everyone to behave in ways that support the safety of one another (such as reminding others to wear seat belts).  The goal of this project was to understand which aspects of culture help to predict engagement in these behaviors.
  • Identifying Disparities in Definitions of Heavy Trucks” summarized research by Yiyi Wang, Karalyn Clouser and graduate student Fahmid Hossain to clarify the myriad of state and federal regulations that affect truck drivers, trucking companies, and enforcement agencies. The team developed a useful handbook with charts and photographs to identify the types of vehicles and conditions that fall under specific regulatory guidelines.
  • For “Assessment of the Road Weather Information System (RWIS),” Levi Ewan and Ahmed Al-Kaisy conducted an in-depth review of MDT’s 73 RWIS stations to improve and guide future planning and operations efforts.  The findings addressed data and software needs, benefits and costs, and implementation guidelines.

Read the full MDT newsletter click here.

Transportation Journal Publishes Low-Volume Roads Safety Study

WTI safety researchers Ahmed Al-Kaisy, Levi Ewan, and graduate student Fahmid Hossain have published a study on safety improvements for low-volume roads.  For “Economic feasibility of safety improvements on low-volume roads,” the research team investigated 27 safety improvements commonly used on high volume roads, and determined that appoximately half would also also be cost-effective to implement on roads with low traffic volumes.

Citation: Al-Kaisy, A., Ewan, L., and Hossain, F. (2017). Economic feasibility of safety improvements on low-volume roads. Journal of Transportation Safety and Security. Volume 9, Issue 3: pp 369-382.

USDOT Secretary Chao Names Shankwitz to Motorcyclist Advisory Council

Portrait of WTI Researcher Craig ShankwitzWTI’s Craig Shankwitz has been appointed to serve as a Special Government Employee on the Motorcyclist Advisory Council (MAC) to the Federal Highway Administration.  His service will enhance the U. S. Department of Transportation’s efforts to address infrastructure issues of concern to motorcyclists.  Throughout this two-year appointment, Shankwitz will share expertise on the research and application of intelligent transportation systems, especially related to motorcycle improvement safety.  In February of 2017, Shankwitz was selected by the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center to serve on the Motorcycle Safety Research Consortium.  Shankwitz oversee WTI’s Automated and Connected Vehicle efforts.