The West Region Transportation Workforce Center is offering a free, 1.5 hour webinar, on Respectful Workplaces and Health & Safety Empowerment for Women in Highway Construction Trades. It will explore research conducted on the experience of women and minorities in highway construction and the trades. The webinar will describe how the research served to inform pilot projects at job sites in both Oregon and Washington to foster respectful workplaces and to improve health and safety for women in the trades. This webinar is in partnership with the Department of Labor Women’s Bureau and will take place Wednesday, October 25th from 11:00 AM to 1:30 PM Mountain/1:00 AM to 2:30 PM Eastern. Click here http://wrtwc.org/news/2017/tradeswomen/ for more information and to register.
Fish passage research by a Bozeman-based team will soon be published in Northwest Science. The journal has accepted “Sprint Swimming Performance of Shovelnose Sturgeon in an Open-Channel Flume,” authored by Luke Holmquist of MSU’s Department of Ecology, Kevin Kappenman of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Matt Blank of WTI, and Matt Schultz. The article describes research in an outdoor experimental flume at the Bozeman Fish Technology Center. The sprint velocities from the laboratory study indicate that the swimming capability of shovelnose sturgeon has been previously underestimated. The results of this study provide data that might support design and analysis of fish passage projects for shovelnose sturgeon and other sturgeon species. For more information about fish passage research, visit the project page.
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.
The Mexican Secretaria de Comunicaciones y Transportes (National Transportation Department) sponsored its first national Road Ecology workshop in Hermosillo, Senora, Mexico in early October. WTI Research Scientist Tony Clevenger was one of three presenters invited to lead this inaugural forum. Organizers, including the Secretaria, the Wildlands Network, and other partner agencies, anticipated only 50 attendees, but the event attracted more than 100 participants.
Tony Clevenger (left) at the first national road ecology workshop in Mexico.
The Center for Health and Safety Culture has announced the dates for its inaugural symposium. From June 20-22, 2018, CHSC will host a symposium in Bozeman, Montana focused on “Exploring How Positive Culture Improves Health and Safety.” Attendees will learn about current research and best practices in transforming culture, by engaging in group discussion, listening to presentations in multiple formats, and creating knowledge together. Additional information is available on the symposium website.
Ecology and Evolution has published an article on threats to wolverine populations, which was co-authored by WTI researcher Tony Clevenger. “Cumulative effects of climate and landscape change drive spatial distribution of Rocky Mountain wolverine” describes research in the Canadian Rockies that used camera trapping, genetic tagging, and modeling to investigate whether the interaction of climate change and landscape change may result in declining populations of wolverines.
Citation: Heim N, Fisher JT, Clevenger A, Paczkowski J, Volpe J. Cumulative effects of climate and landscape change drive spatial distribution of Rocky Mountain wolverine (Gulo gulo L.). Ecology and Evolution. 2017;00:1–12.
The Center for Health and Safety Culture’s research scientist Kari Finley has been selected to present at the Thirteenth International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences in Granada, Spain in July 2018. Her presentation, “Understanding the Culture of Traffic Safety Citizenship” will highlight exciting new research from the center. Attendees will learn about traffic safety citizenship, cultural factors predictive of prosocial traffic safety behaviors, and ways to grow citizenship behaviors.
In late September, Research Scientist Tony Clevenger was invited to speak at the Howard H. Baker Jr Center for Public Policy. Located at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the Baker Center holds nationally prominent events pertaining to the Center’s three areas of focus: Energy & Environment, Global Security, and Leadership & Government. Previous speakers have included U.S. Ambassadors, private industry CEOs, and renowned policy experts. Tony was the keynote speaker for the Center’s Energy and Environment Center, and his presentation addressed “The Changing Landscape of Transportation: Designing Roads for Wildlife Conservation.”
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.
Researchers from WTI’s Winter Maintenance program have published “Corrosion of metals exposed to 25% magnesium chloride solution and tensile stress: Field and laboratory studies.” This case study investigated the corrosive effects of chemicals used for snow and ice control operations, to better understand the potential impact on transportation infrastructure and motor vehicles.
Citation: Shi, X., Zhou, G., and Muthumani, A. (2017). Corrosion of metals exposed to 25% magnesium chloride solution and tensile stress: Field and laboratory studies. Case Studies in Construction Materials, vol 7: pp 1-14.