Student Milestones – It’s Thesis Defense Season

Congratulations to two of our hardworking graduate students who have taken important steps over the last few weeks to earn their advanced degrees.

Close-up photo of Graduate Student Jubaer Ahmed

The Center for Health and Safety Culture’s (CHSC) doctorate student, Jubaer Ahmed, presented his Ph.D. comprehensive exam presentation on March 26, entitled, “Emotional Intelligence and Risky Driving Behavior.” His research addresses risky driving behavior among different populations from the perspective of emotional intelligence. Jubaer passed his presentation and will continue with the project in collaboration with his advisor, Nic Ward.

Matt Bell presented and passed his thesis defense for his Masters in Civil Engineering on April 3. His thesis focuses on “An Investigation Modeling the Risk of Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions in the State of Montana.”  Matt’s research advisor is WTI’s Yiyi Wang and he also works closely with WTI Road Ecology researchers on projects including an international workshop on new designs for wildlife crossing structures.

 

Traffic Safety Culture Pooled Fund Webinar: Review of Phase 1 and Launch Phase 2

On Thursday, May 9, 2019 at 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm (Mountain Time), the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) and the Center for Health and Safety Culture (CHSC) will host a free webinar on the Traffic Safety Culture Pooled Fund research program.

Growing “traffic safety culture” has been identified as a core strategy by the USDOT Safety Council, FHWA’s Joint Safety Strategic Plan, the National Towards Zero Deaths (TZD) Safety Initiative, and the Road to Zero Coalition. Growing a positive traffic safety culture can support traffic safety goals by reducing risky behaviors and increasing protective behaviors; it can also increase public acceptance of other effective traffic safety programs.

In 2014, MDT initiated a five-year transportation pooled fund program on traffic safety culture, partnering with the CHSC as the principal research entity. Through this program, state DOTs and other stakeholder organizations have conducted cooperative research on the role of traffic safety culture in achieving the Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) vision. To build on initial research success, the members will continue another five-year cycle beginning October 1, 2019. This webinar will introduce the pooled fund program to state DOTs and other traffic safety stakeholders interested in more information or wishing to participate in the new funding cycle. Learn more about the Pooled Fund Program and register for the Traffic Safety Culture webinar.

2019 Positive Culture Framework Training Program – Registration Now Open

Banner announcing Positive Culture Framework Training to be held September 24 to 26, 2019 in Nashville, TN and showing photo of downtown Nashville

This fall, the Center for Health and Safety Culture (CHSC) will host a training workshop on the fundamentals of Positive Culture Framework.  Registration is now open for the 2 ½ day event, which will be held September 24-26 in Nashville, Tennessee.

The training is designed for anyone working to improve health and safety, such as traffic safety professionals, substance misuse professionals, prevention specialists, violence prevention advocates, coalition members, government personnel, and law enforcement officers. Through this training, attendees will:

  • Learn how culture influences behavior;
  • Develop and refine skills in three critical areas: leadership, communication, and the integration of effective strategies; and
  • Gain specific next steps for transforming culture to improve health and safety.

The agenda and registration information for this training is available on the CHSC website.

New Publication: The role of social capital in traffic safety citizenship

Traffic safety citizenship is an emerging approach to reduce serious injuries and fatalities on our roadways. The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Civic and Political Studies recently published “The Role of Social Capital in Traffic Safety Citizenship” by Kari Finley, Jay Otto, and Nic Ward of the Center for Health and Safety Culture. The journal article describes their study to develop a model to identify beliefs and values associated with intention to engage in traffic safety citizenship behaviors with strangers and to explore the role of an individual’s perception of social capital in this model. This study focused on two safety citizenship behaviors: intervening as a driver to ask a passenger to wear a seat belt and intervening as a passenger to ask a driver to stop reading or typing on a cell phone while driving.

 

Citation: Finley, Kari, Jay Otto, and Nicholas Ward. 2018. “The Role of Social Capital in Traffic Safety Citizenship.” The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Civic and Political Studies 13 (2): 29-41. doi:10.18848/2327-0071/CGP/v13i02/29-41.

WTI Director Looks Forward to 2019, Launching New Projects and Hosting National Event

With the start of the new year, WTI Director Steve Albert sees a busy calendar ahead for himself and the organization as a whole – and that’s a good thing. “Over the last few years we’ve seen a lot of amazing advancements in the transportation field, but also a lot of uncertainty about the future – not to mention a lot more competition for research projects,” Albert said in a recent interview. “Recently, though, we’ve been awarded several nationally significant projects that I’m very excited about, so I’m looking forward to a busy and productive 2019 at WTI.”

For example, in fall 2018, the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) selected WTI and Intrans (at Iowa State University) to lead the development of a Research Roadmap on Rural Transportation Issues, which is scheduled to be completed and released in 2019. “Our team is focused on identifying the research issues that can make the most difference in improving rural transportation across the country including infrastructure, safety, mobility, freight movement, and workforce shortages,” said Albert; “it’s an amazing opportunity to help shape and prioritize the future of transportation research at the national level.”

WTI is also gearing up to lead the team that is launching a major Wildlife Vehicle Collision Reduction and Habitat Connectivity project. WTI’s Road Ecology scientists will partner with other leading researchers from the U.S. and Canada on a three year $700,000+ pooled fund study administered by the Nevada Department of Transportation that includes seven other states, from Alaska to Iowa, and one Canadian province. It will include a cost-benefit analysis of various mitigation measures, a series of research projects and the development of a manual. The project will identify and evaluate the most cost-effective strategies and tools that DOTs can use to reduce the number of collisions between animals and vehicles and those measures that require additional research. “Ten years ago, WTI’s Road Ecology team completed the first nation-wide study that looked at the cost of these collisions and the cost-effectiveness of potential solutions,” Albert explained; “new mitigation options have emerged since then, and state DOTs need concrete information on what works, what is promising but might need some more study, and what is economically feasible to implement.”
https://www.pooledfund.org/Details/Study/610

In addition to conducting new research, WTI will host the 12th Transportation Research Board (TRB) International Conference on Low Volume Roads this September in in Kalispell, Montana. According to Albert, “TRB sponsors this conference to highlight new technologies and new techniques in the design, construction, and maintenance of low-volume roads; researchers and practitioners come from all over to discuss practical solutions to common problems on these roads.”

Overall, the WTI Director sees opportunities ahead for all of WTI’s Centers and research programs. “We continue to find critical transportation needs in both our longstanding program areas as well as some emerging ones,” said Albert. “Our Mobility and Public Transportation program is doing innovative work right here in Bozeman, Montana as well as in small towns around the country related to public transportation options (see News section). The Center for Health and Safety Culture has also had tremendous success in growing its training efforts to introduce amazing, culture-based approaches to health and safety initiatives.”

New Publications Released on Traffic Safety Culture and Traffic Safety Citizenship

A Strategic Approach to Transforming Traffic Safety Culture to Reduce Deaths and Injuries

The Transportation Research Board’s (TRB’s) National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) has released the results of a national study on traffic safety culture, led by P.I. Nic Ward of the Center for Health and Safety Culture and Cambridge Systematics. “A Strategic Approach to Transforming Traffic Safety Culture to Reduce Deaths and Injuries” provides guidance to state transportation agencies on how to transform the traffic safety culture of road users and stakeholders, with the long-term goal of sustaining improvements in traffic safety for all road users. Background information is available on the project webpage. The report is available at http://nap.edu/25286

Citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. A Strategic Approach to Transforming Traffic Safety Culture to Reduce Deaths and Injuries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25286.

The Role of Social Capital in Traffic Safety Citizenship

Kari Finley Ph.D., Jay Otto M.S., and Nic Ward Ph.D. with the Center for Health and Safety Culture (CHSC) at Montana State University have published an article in the International Journal of Interdisciplinary Civic and Political Studies. The article titled “The Role of Social Capital in Traffic Safety Citizenship” focuses on two traffic safety citizenship behaviors: asking a passenger to wear a seat belt and asking a driver to stop texting on a cell phone while driving and explores the role of social capital to facilitate engagement in these behaviors with strangers. Results indicate that social capital may influence engagement in traffic safety citizenship behaviors. This project was conducted in cooperation with the US Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration and the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT), as part of a Traffic Safety Culture Pooled Fund. The article is available through Open Access and can be found at The Role of Social Capital in Traffic Safety Citizenship or at https://cgscholar.com/bookstore/works/the-role-of-social-capital-in-traffic-safety-citizenship.

Citation- Finley, K., Otto, J. & Ward, N.J. (2018). The Role of Social Capital in Traffic Safety Citizenship. The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Civic and Political Studies 13:2, 29-41. doi:10.18848/2327-0071/CGP/v13i02/29-41.

NEW PROJECT: CHSC to Develop Safety Culture Training Modules

Transportation, law enforcement, and public health organizations are showing growing interest in incorporating the principles of traffic safety culture into their safety programs.  As a result, there is new demand for training materials on these topics for engineers, planners, emergency responders, public health professionals, and other practitioners.

Through this project, the Center for Health and Safety Culture will create three safety culture trainings for safety staff. The training modules will cover the basics of safety culture, organizational safety culture and road user safety culture.  CHSC will develop supporting materials, such as a facilitator guide, videos, interactive handouts, and assessment tools.  These modules will be made available to the Local Technical Assistance Programs (LTAPs) in each state, expanding access to culture-based training throughout the country.

As the project progresses, more information will be available on the CHSC website and the WTI project page.