Mobility & Public Transportation

WTI’s Mobility and Public Transportation program provides a comprehensive approach to the issues facing rural transit agencies. We focus on offering research, outreach and education/training for concerns such as rural public transportation and rural mobility. We also facilitate rural transportation coordination among stakeholders.

The Mobility and Public Transportation program research area works at providing a comprehensive approach to solving issues facing rural transportation (transit), federal lands (national parks, forests, etc.) and tribal agencies through research, outreach and education/training. It does this through facilitating transportation coordination among transportation providers, including human service, tourist industries and other organizations, and increasing mobility for individuals of all ages and abilities by using innovative solutions that include bicycle, pedestrian and all other modes of transportation.

About the Mobility and Public Transportation Program

This program expanded in 2004 from a focus specifically on public transportation (transit) to a program that included additional modes, including aviation, rail, bicycling and pedestrian travel. The program looks at how various modes interact, and how individual and public mobility can be improved by improving the link between the various modes.
Today, the Mobility and Public Transportation Program focuses on how to improve mobility in rural and frontier areas by coordinating resources so that even basic public transportation services can be provided. This is a challenge in rural and frontier areas due to a scattered population or seasonal visitors (tourists), who must travel great distances to reach medical and other life-line services (educational campuses, business centers, airports), and recreational sites.


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27 Projects

NADO-USDA Lebanon, Missouri Rural Transportation Feasibility Study

Started November, 2017

WTI will provide technical assistance to three rural communities and regions to identify and evaluate options for expanding transportation options, through 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 three grants

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Small Urban, Rural and Tribal Center on Mobility (SURTCOM)

Started November, 2016

The objective of the Small Urban, Rural and Tribal Center on Mobility is to conduct research and provide leadership, education, workforce development and technology transfer in all transportation-related aspects of mobility for people and goods, focusing specifically on small urban, rural and tribal areas.. .

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Bozeman TDM Coordinator

Started August, 2016

The objective of this project is to work with the City of Bozeman, Montana and Montana State University to implement transportation demand management (TDM) strategies.. .

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Sharing the Roads to Federal Lands

Started February, 2016

The purpose of this research is to develop guidance that can be used by transportation agencies when considering bikeway designations to reduce liability concerns and improve safety for people biking and driving on shared roads.. .

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Small Urban & Rural Livability Center (SURLC)

Started October, 2013

The objective of this project was to create a University Transportation Center charged with conducting research and providing leadership, education, workforce development and technology transfer on the transportation aspects of livability, focused on small urban and rural areas.. .

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27 Projects

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58 Projects

Last Mile Commercial Package Delivery as a Revenue Generation Tool for Rural Public Transportation Systems in Wyoming

Started October, 2016

The final report summarizes research to assess the feasibility of last mile package delivery as a revenue generation tool for rural public transportation systems in Wyoming. In an effort to assess the feasibility, the research team conducted an in-depth literature review and surveyed local Wyoming businesses, state department of transportation officials, and transit managers. The survey results, literature review, and demand and potential revenue suggest that the transit agencies have a needed capacity to add a package delivery service, a market for the service, and a facility to house the service

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Livability in State Departments of Transportation

Started January, 2016

Researchers reviewed the websites of 51 State DOTs, including the District of Columbia, to learn if the DOT has a definition of “livability” or “livable community.”  Researchers found a definition of “livability” or “livable community” for about half of State DOTs (28 of 51, including the District of Columbia). The most common theme that ran throughout most of the livability definitions was public health and safety. This was followed closely by the theme of economic development and access to good jobs, with definitions including related wording

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Park County Public Transportation Feasibility Study

Started July, 2015

The final report included the following findings and recommendations. Based on the public input, Park County residents expressed a need and broad support for improved transportation service options. At the time of this research, however, the development of a public transportation system with fixed route transit lacked the support necessary to consider it feasible

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Wyoming Intercity Bus Service Study

Started June, 2015

As described in the final report, the network connectivity analysis showed that approximately 51% of the population of Wyoming (about 300,821 people) is served by national ICB service providers, including 17 of the 28 largest cities in the state. The results from the network connectivity analysis and the survey were used as a basis to help define “meaningful connections” and six specific routes that could expand access to intercity bus services in Wyoming. This research also provided a methodology that can be used by WYDOT to determine intercity bus service needs are being adequately met

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Small Town and Rural Street Guide

Started September, 2014

The USDOT Federal Highway Administration has released “Small Town and Rural Multimodal Networks,” a report based on this project.  The report is intended to provide ideas and guidance to small towns and rural communities who wish to enhance active travel networks for modes such as bicycling and walking.  The guide also provides innovative examples of successful projects that are applicable to rural communities.

View more details about this project on the SURLC website .

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BLM Idaho Owyhee Transportation System Development

Started August, 2014

The public benefit of this work is an organized system of routes that will protect natural and cultural resources. The final organized routes inventory with all routes numbered and connected will provide clarity to the public during the BLM Transportation and Travel Management Planning.  This organization of routes will help remove redundant routes that crisscross the landscape and help prevent conflicts with natural and cultural resources.  This route numbering system may also be used “on the ground” so end users will understand what sub-region of Owyhee County they are in and whether or not they are on a main route based off of the route number..

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Incorporating Livability and the Urban Form into Travel Demand Forecasting Models in High Growth Rural and Small Urban Communities

Started July, 2014

The objectives of this research are to:

Develop a consolidated list of livability metrics that could be incorporated into TDFM,
Conduct initial analysis on the feasibility of incorporating each of these metrics into TDFM for a rural or small urban area,
Fully implement at least one livability metric into a full TDFM, and
Share results through technical transfer activities.
. .

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University Trip Exchange District Study

Started January, 2014

The purpose of this study was to determine the feasibility of creating a district around Montana State University in order to measure how travel to and from a university is different from travel to and from other types of development.. .

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Regional Coordination Project for Lake, Mineral and Sanders Counties

Started June, 2013

The final report summarizes efforts to identify potential cost-effective alternatives to private automobile travel in Lake, Mineral, and Sanders Counties. As of this report, there are currently six organizations in these three counties that provide transportation services. The current transportation providers and other regional stakeholders have a strong interest in providing quality public transportation services

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Safe Routes To Schools 2013

Started July, 2012

Through this project, Taylor Lonsdale, PE, will serve as the state of Montana’s “Safe Routes to School” Coordinator on behalf of the Montana Department of Transportation. This program aims to encourage active and healthy lifestyles by increasing the number of children in grades K through 8 who walk and bike to school..

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Greater Anaconda Regional Coordination Project

Started February, 2012

WTI identified and analyzed alternatives related to improved coordination of transportation among the existing providers. WTI also facilitated meetings among stakeholders to discuss potential implementation of these alternatives. This project yielded numerous benefits:
• Identification of existing resources available for transportation services, including vehicles, staff, and funding.
• Identification of viable alternatives to enhance transportation coordination in three categories: communication, cooperation, and consolidation

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Safe Routes to Schools FY12

Started July, 2011

Through this project, Taylor Lonsdale, PE, will serve as the state of Montana’s “Safe Routes to School” Coordinator on behalf of the Montana Department of Transportation. This program aims to encourage active and healthy lifestyles by increasing the number of children in grades K through 8 who walk and bike to school..

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Livability Benchmarks for Montana Transportation

Started January, 2011

As described in the final report, this study found that Montana has some unique characteristics that may have a bearing on measures of its livability. For example, sixty-two percent of Montanans live in areas where the population density is 800 people per square mile or higher, but those areas account for only 0.1 percent of the land area. Along with its unique character, the surveys conducted for this study indicate that Montana is also a good place to live

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Montana Intercity Bus Service Study

Started November, 2010

As described in the final report, the research team conducted an extensive literature review of intercity bus service studies in other states. Following that, a survey of peer states, with characteristics similar to Montana’s rural/frontier nature was performed to understand funding practices and perceive barriers of intercity bus service. Two additional surveys were distributed to intercity bus riders and the general public in Montana to provide insight into the use of intercity bus services and the attitudes toward the services

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Safe Routes to Schools, FY11

Started July, 2010

Through this project, Taylor Lonsdale, PE will serve as the state of Montana’s “Safe Routes to School” Coordinator on behalf of the Montana Department of Transportation. This program aims to encourage active and healthy lifestyles by increasing the number of children in grades K through 8 who walk and bike to school.

See Full Project »

Safe Routes to Schools

Started November, 2009

Through this project, Taylor Lonsdale, PE will serve as the state of Montana’s “Safe Routes to School” Coordinator on behalf of the Montana Department of Transportation. This program aims to encourage active and healthy lifestyles by increasing the number of children in grades K through 8 who walk and bike to school..

See Full Project »

Bike Sharing Programs on Federal Lands

Started August, 2009

This project will analyze the challenges bike sharing programs in some national parks and national wildlife refuges are facing, including liability and risk management, helmet use, business models, operations and maintenance, and funding mechanisms, and offer recommendations for Federal Land Management Agencies (FLMAs) interested in implementing bike sharing programs. The results can help transfer knowledge on this new technology among the FLMAs..

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National Technical Assistance Center for Parks and Public Lands (TRIPTAC)

Started April, 2009

Alternative transportation systems (ATS) can provide effective, environmentally sensitive solutions to traffic congestion, parking, pollution, and other transportation related challenges. The increased use of alternative transportation can help public land managers find the balance point between visitor access and experience and resource protection. Therefore, in order to increase the use of alternative transportation on public lands, managers need an easily accessible, central source for information, technical assistance, and coordination and outreach assistance

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Automated Cost Recovery

Started November, 2006

Identify practices and technologies to automate cost recovery in Montana transit systems making transportation business practices more effective and efficient.. .

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Big Sky Snow Express

Started July, 2003

The purpose of this project is for WTI to provide support for the development of new routes and a schedule for the Snow Express system in Big Sky, which is funded by resort tax dollars and managed by the District.. .

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Gallatin County Big Sky Transportation District

Started January, 2003

The purpose of the project is to provide support for the development of a Request For Proposal (RFP) for transportation services (buses and their operation) for the District, in addition to a survey of clients who utilize the services of the District.. .

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Paratransit Systems Operations Models

Started June, 2002

The objective of this project is to develop and test prototype models of paratransit systems that can be used to evaluate routing, scheduling and dispatch alternatives. The models will be demand-driven and will be developed using historical data available from Galavan. Testing and validation with other data sets will also be done, time permitting.

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58 Projects

57 News Posts

In the News: Streamline Bus Service Celebrates Three Million Rides

Posted on September 5th, 2018

[caption id="attachment_10803" align="alignright" width="300"] KBZK TV Interviews David Kack about the history and success of the Streamline Bus service.[/caption] The Streamline Bus Service in Bozeman achieved a major milestone in August – 12 years of service and three million rides! KBZK Channel 7 visited the community barbecue hosted by the Human Resources Development Council (HRDC), which operates Streamline, and interviewed WTI’s David Kack on the history and growth of the service over the years. Watch the full news story with David’s interview on the KBZK website. View Full News Post »

Posted in: In The News

WTI helps NW Bozeman neighbors bring their vision for safer streets to life!

Posted on August 20th, 2018

[caption id="attachment_10782" align="aligncenter" width="1162"] Examples of temporary "pop up" street features for safer streets in Bozeman.[/caption]WTI's Bozeman Commuter Project is working with Bozeman neighborhoods to implement Pop-up Traffic Calming projects to reduce drivers speeds on residential streets, and bring more visibility to bikes and pedestrians. This weekend residents of Northwest Bozeman in the Valley Unit neighborhood will be setting up a temporary demonstration of curb extensions and a traffic circle at three intersections near Valley Unit park. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Event, Tech Transfer

Summer Postcards: Alternative Transportation Takes Many Forms Around the World

Posted on August 20th, 2018

Even while on vacation, WTI staff members can’t help but notice new and interesting ways that people travel from place to place. Check out David Kack’s photos from Denmark, where the bicycle is a very well-established mode of daily commuter travel, and where boats provide taxi service. Lisa Hughes and Neil Hetherington shared photos and video from San Diego, Los Angeles and Barcelona, where electric scooters and dockless bikes are rapidly growing in popularity. View Full News Post »

Posted in: News

Society of Women Engineers selects WTI Researcher to lead workshop at Annual Meeting

Posted on August 13th, 2018

Each year, the Society of Women Engineers receives more than 1000 submissions to present at its Annual Meeting, known as the “The World’s Largest Conference for Women Engineers.” WTI Researcher Natalie Villwock-Witte and her research partners at Minnesota Department of Transportation and Bike Minnesota were selected to lead a presentation entitled “Bicycles and Pedestrians: Advocacy, Planning, and Research” at the upcoming Annual Meeting in October. Congrats, Natalie! . View Full News Post »

Summer Postcards: Researchers on the Road

Posted on August 13th, 2018

[caption id="attachment_10741" align="alignright" width="300"] Passengers utilize the Columbia Gorge Shuttle[/caption]WTI Research Engineer Natalie Villwock-Witte just returned from Cascade Locks, Oregon, where she participated in the mid-year meeting of Transportation Research Board (TRB) Committee on the Transportation Needs of National Parks and Public Lands (ADA 40). Committee members had the opportunity to try out the new Columbia Gorge Express shuttle service, and visit Multnomah Falls and the Bonneville Dam. [caption id="attachment_10740" align="alignright" width="300"] Graduate students participate in a road ecology field trip with Marcel. View Full News Post »

Posted in: News

AARP Highlights Bozeman Traffic Calming Project in National Publication

Posted on July 30th, 2018

In 2017, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) awarded a Community Challenge grant to WTI and the City of Bozeman to purchase a mobile Pop-up Project Trailer, which neighborhoods and local groups can use to work towards safer multimodal streets. WTI and the City, in partnership with volunteers from Big Brothers and the community, used the trailer to install the Tamarack/Tracy traffic calming demonstration project last fall. [caption id="attachment_9000" align="aligncenter" width="414"] Temporary traffic calming installation in Bozeman, Montana[/caption] The project is now highlighted on the AARP website, as part of a feature showcasing what the grant winners achieved with their funding. View Full News Post »

Posted in: In The News, Outreach

Student Success: Two WTI students join Professional Staff

Posted on July 22nd, 2018

When WTI hires and mentors great students, it is a win-win for the organization and for aspiring young professionals. WTI’s two most recent hires both started as part-time student employees while pursuing their undergraduate degrees at Montana State University. [caption id="attachment_10713" align="aligncenter" width="640"] New staff members Dani Hess (Left) and Kelley Hall (Right) ride bikes outside WTI offices in Bozeman, MT[/caption] Kelley Hall has been part of the WTI family since 2014. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Staff, Student

David Kack Named “Business Person of the Year” by Big Sky Chamber of Commerce

Posted on July 3rd, 2018

Congratulations to WTI’s own David Kack, who was honored with a Big Sky Chamber of Commerce Award at the Chamber’s Annual Dinner last week. David was selected for the “Business Person of the Year” Award, in recognition of his 15 years of work to establish and grow the Skyline bus service, as well as his more recent leadership efforts in partnership with the Chamber and other stakeholders to successfully secure a $10 million federal TIGER grant for improvements to the transportation network in the Big Sky region. The Awards dinner was also featured in today’s issue of Explore Big Sky. View Full News Post »

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

Posted on May 15th, 2018

The 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. View Full News Post »

Posted in: New Research

Travel Voucher Project Kicks Off in Texas

Posted on May 7th, 2018

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. View Full News Post »