Safety & Operations

The Safety and Operations program finds sustainable solutions for improving rural highway safety and operations in key areas including human factors in driving accidents on rural highways and integration of rural ITS.

The mission of the Safety and Operations program is to be at the forefront of the National momentum to address safety and operational challenges in rural America. Our goal is to develop sustainable solutions to improve safety and operations through innovation and research in several areas, including:

  • Human factors as related to driver performance, highway design, information system, special users, education and training;
  • ITS planning, demonstration, deployment, and evaluation;
  • Traffic safety improvement through engineering, education, enforcement and EMS.
  • Development of tools to better monitor and assess traffic operations on rural highways
  • Traffic control and safety during nonrecurring events (e.g., extreme weather conditions, work zones, traffic-related incidents, special events, natural disasters);
  • and Supporting multi-agency transportation system management and coordination efforts;

The program consists of emphasis areas in safety, operations and human factors.

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18 Projects

Public Land Transportation Fellow Program

Started February, 2018

The objective of this program is to provide fellowships to outstanding graduates in a transportation-related field to spend eleven months total working directly with staff of Federal Land Management Agencies on key visitor transportation issues.. .

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Transportation Scholars Program

Started October, 2015

The objective of this project is to establish a Transportation Scholars program that will provide individuals to conduct site specific work at three United States Fish and Wildlife refuges, complexes or offices.To view more information about the transportation scholars program, please visit our Federal Lands Transportation Website.. .

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Developing a Training Video and Manual for Best Practices and Techniques in Clearing Different Interchange Configurations and Other Geometric Layouts

Started March, 2015

The goal of this project is to provide comprehensive, clear, and concise training materials (videos, manual, and reference cards) based on best practices for snow removal and ice control on interchange and intersection layouts that are applicable for agencies of any size and in all regions of the U.S. and Canada..

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Improved Analysis of Two-Lane Highway Capacity and Operational Performance

Started September, 2014

The objective of this research is to (1) identify appropriate performance measures for operational and capacity analyses of two-lane highways and develop models to produce these performance measures in an Highway Capacity Manual (HCM) context, and (2) develop or modify a simulation-based analysis method for two-lane highways and offer guidance for when to apply a simulation versus HCM methods.. .

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Amber Alert

Started February, 2004

To incorporate the Department of Transportation and the use of their intelligent transportation system (ITS) devices into Montana’s AMBER Alert Plan.. .

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18 Projects

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169 Projects

Innovative Safety Solutions with Pavement Markings and Delineation

Started August, 2015

The final booklet published by ATSSA presents several case studies that highlight innovative pavement markings that are intended to improve roadway safety by informing and warning drivers of certain aspects of the road, the road users, or the surrounding environment. These warnings are intended to promote positive driver behavior changes like slowing speeds, increasing awareness of other road users, correcting errant driver maneuvers, or operating a motor vehicle in an intended manner to improve safety..

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Northwest Passage Operations and Travel Information Integration Sharing (OTIIS)

Started July, 2015

The Operations Evaluation report summarizes Phase II of the OTIIS project, which included operating and maintaining the system for an evaluation phase from April 2015 – December 2016. The report includes a brief overview of the development of the system, a description of the system, experiences from operations of the system, system usage analytics, and conclusions. The research team concluded that that during Phase II, the OTIIS system provided more than 12,000 users with the ability to see road conditions and plan their trips seamlessly along the NWP corridor

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An Assessment of Traffic Safety Culture Related to Driving After Cannabis Use

Started June, 2015

The final report describes the results from the research survey, which measured DUIC behavior, intention, willingness, attitudes, behavioral beliefs, perceived norms, and perceived control. About half of the individuals who had used cannabis in the past 12 months reported driving within four hours of use. Partial correlation coefficients showed that many components of the model correlated with willingness to DUIC

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An Assessment of Traffic Safety Culture: Exploring Traffic Safety Citizenship

Started June, 2015

The final report summarizes findings from a research survey conducted to understand values, beliefs, and attitudes regarding engagement in behaviors that impact the traffic safety of others. About half of the people who responded to the survey indicated they had been in a situation in the past 12 months when someone was not wearing a seat belt or was reading or texting while driving. Of those who indicated they were in a situation to intervene, more than half did

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Refining Return on Investment Methodology/Tool for MnPAss

Started April, 2015

As described in the final report, the researchers in this study investigated a more comprehensive set of factors, variables, and perspectives to include within the
refined ROI analysis framework based on the limitations summarized in the current MnPASS BCA methodology; the major concerns identified from agency staff interviews; and available data resources. The selected cost components included initial capital costs, annual operating and maintenance costs, remaining capital value, and the potential benefit components consisted of travel time savings, vehicle operating cost savings, safety benefits, travel time reliability, transit benefit, induced traffic, emergency response, emissions impacts, and noise impacts. Tractable calculation methods were further explored for each cost and benefit measurement in order to facilitate use of the economic analysis tool

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An In-Depth Assessment of Montana Road Weather Information System

Started December, 2014

The final report includes findings and conclusions on the following topics: state of the art review, state of the practice review, needs assessment, weather data/software analysis, benefit-cost analysis, and site prioritization model. For example, some of the conclusions from the benefit-cost analysis include:

 Agency specific benefits exceed costs for all three alternative software systems (alerting,
forecasting and automated performance metrics) when considering the current ESS sites.
 The highest agency specific benefit-cost ratios were found to be possible with forecasting
and automated performance metric functionalities.
 Total benefits including societal benefits exceed costs for all ESS expansion options
(base, simple, non-invasive, and mobile) and all alternative software systems (alerting,
forecasting and automated performance metrics).
 The highest total benefit-cost ratios were found to be possible with forecasting and
automated performance metric functionalities.

The final report also includes recommendations for MDT regarding RWIS investment, implementation, maintenance and operations..

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Traffic Surveillance System Using Heterogenous Sensor Technologies for National Park Service

Started September, 2014

The final report developed by WTI focused on system recommendations, including the following: The system should be designed with a minimal visual and physical footprint in order to have a minimal impact on the natural aesthetics. It should be designed with flexibility for power options so that when power is not available the following can be balanced for the best option for an individual park unit:
• minimize staff labor needs (e.g. replacing batteries),
• minimize aforementioned aesthetic impact,
• minimize cost, and
• minimize system down time.
The primary need this system can supply is real-time travel speeds

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City of Bozeman 2014 Parking Occupancy Rate Follow-up Study

Started July, 2014

The final report summarizes results of the parking occupancy rate studies in the downtown Bozeman area between July and October of 2014. When comparing occupancy rates from 2014 and the previous study conducted in 2012 (and when available, some dates in 2010), differences were observed depending on the specific date and time of day. For on-street parking, the differences observed in 2014 were occupancies being higher than those of 2012, particularly during the summer months (July and August)

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California and Oregon Advanced Transportation System (COATS), Phase 6

Started June, 2014

COATS Phase 6 provided research and support activities to help California and Oregon achieve the COATS vision. These activities included: promoting technology transfer, investigating traveler information data quality, and evaluating the Fredonyer Pass icy curve warning system.
Technology transfer activities were centered on the growth and continuation of the annual Western States Forum. The evaluation of the Fredonyer Pass ICWS analyzed long-term speed and crash trends to establish true effectiveness of the system in terms of increased driver vigilance and reduced crashes

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EPRI, Phase 1

Started June, 2014

The objective of this project is to lay the exploratory groundwork to identify, characterize and estimate the relative efficacy of using in-cab video in conjunction with active driver risk management for use in a future, dual armed, observational study.. .

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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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Evaluation of Variable Speed Limit/Variable Advisory Speed Systems

Started September, 2013

The objective of this project is to evaluate the performance of variable speed limit (VSL) and variable advisory speed (VAS) systems in urban (OR 217) and rural (US26/OR35) settings in Oregon and provide guidance for future implementations of similar systems. The research will examine the before and after performance data of the VSL/VAS systems in addressing congestion, travel times, weather information, and crashes based on the specific issues of each corridor..

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Assessing the Effectiveness of Montana’s Occupant Protection Program

Started February, 2013

As described in the final report, the evaluation suggested that MDT’s programs largely operate independently of one another. Buckle Up Montana program presence was associated with increased seat restraint use rates, and this was especially true in areas that were not in large media catchment areas. Selective traffic enforcement programs showed a strong relationship with increased seat restraint use, but this relationship disappeared in models that included all programs

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Information/Education Synthesis on Roundabouts

Started January, 2013

As described in the final report, public reluctance to roundabouts is an issue that is not unique to Montana; it has occurred throughout the U.S. To this end, the experiences of other states have shown that this attitude can be countered by a variety of approaches. These approaches include traditional methods (public meetings, informational materials, PSAs, etc.) and more innovative ones (social media, simulations, etc.)

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NM DOT Rumble Strips

Started November, 2012

The final report summarizes research conducted on behalf of the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) to document the current practice among transportation agencies regarding the design, installation, and use of rumble strips. State-of-the-practice information was collected and synthesized through a literature review. In addition, researchers conducted interviews with NMDOT district traffic engineers to document the current use of rumble strips throughout the state

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Safety Opportunities in High Friction Surfacing

Started September, 2012

The American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) published the final document, which promotes a better understanding of the benefits of High Friction Surface Treatments (HFSTs). This document provides insights into the benefits and challenges involved in effectively installing HFSTs. It highlights successful applications, and provides readers with contacts and resources to consult when considering their own use of the treatment.
This document includes the following components:
• An overview of what HFSTs are, where they can be used, the different materials that are available, and other introductory materials

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City of Bozeman Parking Rate Occupancy Rate Study

Started July, 2012

The final report summarizes research by WTI to conduct parking occupancy rate studies in the downtown Bozeman area between July and September/October of 2012. The purpose of this project was to understand how parking spaces near Main Street were being utilized. When examined, occupancy rates shared a similar trend between all block groups, both on weekdays and weekends in general

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Concrete Median Barrier Assessment: Synthesis of Practice

Started February, 2012

The final report presents a synthesis of information from past published research and reports, as well as information from a survey of transportation agencies conducted as part of this project, regarding precast concrete barriers, the corrosion of their connection systems, approaches to rating/ranking this corrosion, and current state DOT practices for their maintenance and replacement. Potential strategies for prioritizing barrier replacement are identified and discussed..

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Traffic Calming for Rural 2-Lane Roads

Started August, 2011

The objective of this project is to summarize past and current work on traffic calming applications and recommend techniques to address safety issues along continuous, rural, 2-lane road sections on Federal Lands.. .

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Cost Effective Local Road Safety Planning and Implementation

Started August, 2011

The American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA), the National Association of County Engineers (NACE), and WTI partnered to develop a guide for local officials that will serve as an easy-to-read resource and reference on roadway infrastructure safety. The publication, Cost Effective Local Road Safety Planning and Implementation, is the
result of that partnership. The focus of this work is on local roads (i.e

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City of Bozeman Parking Study

Started July, 2010

As described in the final report, parking demand calculations indicated there was ample parking in the downtown area at the time of the study,
based on the inventory in 2010 (5,034 stalls). The results of present demand indicated that periphery study area blocks had a surplus of parking, while some core blocks produced a deficit. However, it should be noted that the estimated parking demand for each block and land use may not have occurred simultaneously

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Coordinated Speed Management Systems to Reduce Speed-Related Crashes on Rural Roadways: Augmented Speed Enforcement (ASE)

Started June, 2010

As described in the final report, the purpose of the augmented Speed Enforcement (aSE) project was to detect and warn speeding vehicles in a work zone and provide warnings to work zone workers. The system developed by Montana State University consists of 28 orange traffic drums (called smart drums or sDrums) that were positioned adjacent to the orange cones marking the work zone lane closure. When the system detects a speeding vehicle approaching, it synchronously flashes the orange lights on top of the drums, warning the driver to slow down and the workers of a speeding vehicle

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White Papers for “Toward Zero Deaths”: A National Strategy on Highway Safety

Started April, 2010

This project will develop a series of eight white papers that will outline the key issue areas that may be addressed as part of the process for developing a National Strategy on Highway Safety. The key issues have been identified as: 1) Future View of Transportation: Implications for Safety, 2) Safety Culture, 3) Safer Drivers, 4) Safer Vehicles, 5) Safer Vulnerable Users, 6) Safer Infrastructure, 7) Emergency Medical Systems, and 8) Data Systems and Analysis Tools. WTI is responsible for developing the Safety Culture white paper.

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Modeling Effective, Efficient and Sustainable Emergency Medical Service System for Rural Areas – UTC

Started March, 2010

As described in the final report, This modeling approach developed through this project could be used to produce an optimized output (after iterations) which accounts for various factors which affect EMS service in a given area. In addition, the compartmentalized nature of the overall modeling approach would allow for different factors to be employed and changed on an individual basis yet still interact with others overall. Collectively, the individual models and the simulation would produce a number of outputs, including performance metrics, budget information, resource needs and allocations, and data to support GIS mapping, among other items.

This work also identified a series of potential barriers which could present challenges to the eventual implementation of a modeling approach based on the conceptual framework developed

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FWS Traffic Monitoring Assessment and Demo

Started September, 2009

The purpose of this project is to evaluate the current traffic monitoring practices of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and make plans for a series of demonstration projects to test alternative techniques for improving visitor estimation..

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Montana Rest Area Usage – UTC

Started July, 2009

The objective of this research is to develop Montana-specific rest area usage guidelines with respect to water usage and traffic (vehicle, patrons) in order to supplement, replace and /or confirm current practices for rest area site selection, design and facilities management.. .

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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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SHRP II: SO2 Proposal: Integration of Analysis Methods and Development of Analysis Plan

Started September, 2008

The objective of the S02 project is to integrate the results of the prior SHRP 2 safety projects and to produce prioritization of research questions and an analysis plan for the data collected from the in-vehicle naturalistic field studies. This project will identify analytical methods necessary to address a set of research questions and delineate the steps involved in obtaining appropriate measures of effectiveness, evaluation factors, and sampling designs of large naturalistic driving data sets..

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Evaluation of the UDOT Weather Operations/RWIS Program on Traffic Operations

Started September, 2008

Phase I of the evaluation focused on developing an internal business case for the Weather Operations/RWIS program, in other words to demonstrate its effectiveness to the Utah Department of Transportation by documenting its benefits to the winter maintenance and construction divisions.

This project provides an opportunity to expand the evaluation to look at the program’s impacts on other divisions. This will provide a more complete picture of how the program has benefited the agency. Also, this research will help establish a nationwide prototype of the unique program with stationed meteorologists that provide year-round and area-specific weather forecasts to various users.  As Aurora represents several U.S

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Started September, 2008

The objective of this project is to conduct technology transfer and outreach activities to enhance and expand rural ITS deployment in the COATS region.. .

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Rural EMS Driver Safety Research Program, Phase 1

Started February, 2008

This project will evaluate the feasibility of (a) gathering baseline data on behavioral crash factors associated with rural ambulance crashes as well as (b) measuring the potential safety benefits of an onboard driving quality feedback systems (QFS) within a rural ambulance fleet.. .

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Rural Transportation Research, Development and Accelerated Deployment Technical Proposal

Started January, 2008

Renewal of a cooperative and contractual arrangement between the Western Transportation Institute and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to continue efforts toward improving safety and efficiency of rural transportation facilities, enhance the mobility of rural travelers, and conserve the ecological well being of the environment through which those transportation systems move.. .

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RWIS Usage Report (Alaska)

Started March, 2007

To assess the current usage of the RWIS network of the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, and to identify ways to improve its utility and effectiveness.. .

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TS603 Optimal Sensor Placement

Started January, 2007

WTI will provide support on rural issues related to optimal sensor placement for critical Traffic Management and Traveler Information applications for a study by the California Center for Innovative Transportation (CCIT).. .

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Pilot Test of Automatic Vehicle Location on Snow Plows

Started March, 2005

To provide Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) with enough information to help them procure the automatic vehicle location (AVL) technology that is most appropriate for a pilot test on MDT snow plows and that would be consistent with statewide adoption for use on snow plows.. .

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ODOT Region 1 ITS Implementation & Operations Plan

Started December, 2004

To develop Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) plans for rural state highways and urban arterial state highways and incorporate these into an updated version of the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Region 1 ITS Implementation and Operations Plan.. .

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511 in YNP

Started October, 2004

To automate the data collection of traveler information for Yellowstone National Park (YNP) and to make this information available to visitors via the Montana 511 system so that they can access up-to-date travel information.. .

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Montana Four City Parking Generation/Land Use Pattern Correlation Study

Started June, 2004

To provide increased accuracy in parking and trip generation data utilized for review of development and urban planning and provide increased and publicly available knowledge in the area of urban development. The creation of a method, which can be used by local regulatory agencies to adjust projected parking and vehicle trip demand generation, based upon patterns of land use development..

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Emergency Operations and Disaster Plan

Started May, 2004

In 2005, WTI helped the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) to develop an Emergency Operations and Disaster Plan. The Plan defined a Concept of Operations; the processes and procedures, roles and responsibilities, for implementing an effective response and otherwise restoring the transportation system. It outlined how continuity of operations would be maintained, including who would serve as Incident Commander

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Evaluation of Driver Distraction during Mobile Phone Interaction with the 511 Information System

Started February, 2004

This research project has three primary objectives:
• To collect empirical data addressing driver distraction while using two common mobile phone interfaces in rural and urban traffic,
• To collect empirical data addressing the usability of the 511 information system while being accessed by mobile telephone from a moving vehicle,
• To provide an initial shakedown study for the WTI driving simulation laboratory and an early research success on what will be a high-visibility topic.. .

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Evaluation of Biodiesel Fuel: Literature Review

Started July, 2003

To provide the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) and the State Legislature with better information to help them make policy decisions regarding future biodiesel usage in the state. The purpose of the literature review was to examine the body of literature that currently exists regarding laboratory and field experience with the use of biodiesel fuels, with an emphasis on oil seed-based biodiesel..

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Lewis and Clark ITS Kiosks Evaluation

Started October, 2002

Evaluate the acceptability, functionality, usability, and effectiveness of prototype interactive information kiosks deployed to provide tourism information for the Lewis and Clark Trail Bicentennial celebration in Montana.. .

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Impacts of Weather on Rural Highway Operations – Showcase #2

Started October, 2002

The objective of this project is to study the effect of adverse weather conditions and grade on traffic volume and speed and highway capacity. The work will include collecting data, analyzing data, developing a methodology for predicting road capacities and speeds during adverse weather, and comparing these findings to other studies..

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Development of a Roadway Weather Severity Index – Showcase Evaluation #16

Started September, 2002

The purpose of this study is to research and develop a weather severity index that would be appropriate for roadways. The objectives of the index are to correlate with winter maintenance costs, correlate with the relative hazards of weather-related driving conditions experienced by motorists, use data that is already available, and be easy-to-use and interpret..

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MDT Process Improvements SOW Development

Started June, 2002

The goal of this project is to develop a mutual opportunity with the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) to improve maintenance operations; and address WTI’s mission by expanding the state of the practice. The project will focus on advanced technology and maintenance with a final proposal aimed at jointly improving the maintenance process..

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Evaluation of the Fredonyer Summit Ice Curve Warning System – Showcase Evaluation #14

Started January, 2002

The objective of this evaluation will be to determine if the icy curve warning system to be deployed by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) near Fredonyer Summit on State Route 36 is effective in improving traveler safety. Specifically, the evaluation intends to answer the following questions:§ Are motorists responding to the information presented to them?§ Does the system function as promised from a technological standpoint – e.g. continuous monitoring of conditions, automatic warning of motorists, communication of RWIS data to maintenance staff?§ Does the RWIS provide information to maintenance personnel that helps them to prepare and maintain the road with greater efficiency?

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NHI Rural ITS Toolbox Course

Started January, 2002

The objectives of this contract are to develop both the course and its materials to meet adult learning standards, pilot test the curriculum material to be used in conjunction with NHI Course 137007 – Rural Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Toolbox, and deliver the new course, thus enabling participants to identify the benefits of particular “tools” in engaging relevant stakeholders in the deployment of rural ITS.. .

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National Park Service Sustainable Transportation

Started October, 2001

The National Park System is making a significant effort to encourage visitors to leave their personal automobiles and tour using alternative modes of transportation. The purpose of this project is to define visitors objectives and expectations for vacation trips to support design of the next generation of NPS alternative transportation vehicles..

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Started June, 2001

Investigate automated highway system applications in a rural setting and determine evolutionary deployment path.. .

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Assess Caltrans Road Weather Information System (RWIS) Devices and Related Sensors

Started June, 2001

Caltrans Roadway Weather Information Systems (RWIS) devices are installed at critical areas throughout the state where atmospheric and pavement data could be used for maintenance and transportation management. An assessment of their use and research of their effectiveness is needed to improve the use of existing devices and research the communications systems that prohibit open data transfer between the devices..

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ITS Applications in Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Started April, 2001

National Parks operate under a two-fold mission of preserving their historic, cultural, and natural resources as well as promoting the enjoyment of these resources by the American public. The National Park Service (NPS) has evidently succeeded in the latter part of this mission, as overall visitation to National Parks increased 54 percent from 1979 to 1999. However, this success, if not addressed appropriately, may threaten these unique resources, ultimately taking away the attraction that draws visitors

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RoadView™ Needs Assessment and Cost/Benefit Analysis

Started June, 2000

The overall goals of attaching collision warning and lateral guidance systems to conventional snowplows (ASP) are to:

increase safety by;
reducing snowplow accidents,
reducing damage to other vehicles and infrastructure, and
reducing injuries to snowplow operators or other vehicle occupants,
improve operational efficiency and traveler mobility by;
increasing speed of snowplow removal tasks,
reducing erratic snowplow movements,
reducing road closures/travel delays,
reducing run-off-the-road incident and lane departures, and
demonstrate potential benefits of AVCS technologies by;
evaluating system performance,
assessing operator’s acceptance of the system,
assessing system’s ease of operation,
assessing perceived benefits of the system, and
assessing operator’s level of confidence with the system.
. .

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Development of a Primer of Aviation

Started March, 2000

The main goal of this project is to increase the understanding of Montana’s aviation infrastructure, management and preservation, by a spatially diverse workforce in rural and remote areas of the state. The course uses distance education technology to deliver the course and will develop a methodology for providing continuing education units or professional development hours..

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Started January, 2000

The project evaluated the effectiveness of the #SAFE system, a cellular based Advanced Transportation Weather Information System (ATWIS) technology.. .

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Oregon DOT ITS Maintenance Plan

Started March, 1999

The object of this project is to develop a long-range maintenance plan for ODOT’s existing Intelligent Transportation Systems Strategic Plan: 1997-2017, which identified statewide ITS deployment technologies and practices over the next twenty years.. .

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Tribal Transportation and Safety Needs Project

Started January, 1999

This project will ascertain Tribal Transportation needs on reservations in the western region of the United States. Surveys were conducted and analyzed to document Tribal transportation needs. This project will also explore possible Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) that could improve Tribal Transportation..

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Montana Long Range Rest Area Plan Update

Started July, 1998

The Montana Department of Transportation, Planning Division is undertaking a three-phase effort to determine (1) current rest area conditions and services, (2) the needs and expectations of rest area users, and (3) appropriate planning guidelines to better direct rest area improvements and resources.. .

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Rest Area Survey

Started July, 1998

The overall goal of this effort was twofold: (1) to obtain information related to the needs and expectations of rest area users in Montana that may later be directly incorporated into rest area planning efforts, and (2) to support the MDT, Planning Division mission “to provide ways for interested citizens and stakeholders to obtain information and provide input into transportation planning and decision-making.. .

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Advanced Snowplow Development and Demonstration Project

Started January, 1998

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) initiated the Automated Snowplow Program (ASP) to improve the efficiency and safety of snow removal operations. The program’s objective was to apply technologies previously developed under Advanced Vehicle Control and Safety Systems (AVCSS) and Automated Highway Systems (AHS) research to provide assistance to snowplow operators.  The role of the Western Transportation Institute was to assist in demonstration site selection, assist in the development of system requirements, provide methodologies for evaluation of efficiency and safety and technology performance, and collect and analyze data based upon an evaluation plan..

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NAHSC Case Study GYRITS Priority Corridor

Started August, 1996

The goal of this project is to enhance the quality of life for rural residents and travelers through more safe and efficient movements of goods and people using judicious applications of advanced vehicle control technologies. An evolutionary deployment process will be followed, which allows transportation system users and providers to gradually realize the tangible benefits of deploying advanced vehicle control technologies..

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169 Projects

37 News Posts

Webinar: Rural Roundabouts are Saving Lives

Posted on July 10th, 2018

This webinar will provide an overview of the safety and design of rural roundabouts in the United States. It will include case studies of rural roundabouts on local and state highways as well as the safety experience. At the conclusion of this webinar, participants will be able to: State the risks of rural intersections Name examples of rural roundabouts in the US Summarize the benefits of roundabouts on rural roadways Date: July 19, 2018 Time: 11:00 am to 12:30 pm MT/1:00 pm to 2:30 pm ET Cost: Free Offered by: National Center for Rural Road Safety For more information about this training, http://events. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Training Event

Welcome to the new Public Lands Transportation Fellows (PLTF)

Posted on July 9th, 2018

Mentor Jaime Sullivan, Fellow Corinne Jachelski, Fellow Dylan Corbin, Fellow Vince Ziols and mentor Phil Shapiro (right) at the Bandelier National Monument.The Public Lands Transportation Fellows (PLTF) Program hosted a three-day orientation in late June to welcome its incoming class of participants. Since 2013, the program has offered 11-month fellowships to outstanding masters and doctoral graduates in a transportation-related field. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Student, Training Event

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

Posted on March 21st, 2018

  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. View Full News Post »

National Motorcycle Advisory Council Holds Kick-off Meeting

Posted on January 8th, 2018

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. View Full News Post »

TRB Newsletter features MnPass Tolling Lanes Project

Posted on November 13th, 2017

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.. View Full News Post »

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

Posted on November 1st, 2017

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. View Full News Post »

MDT Highlights WTI Research in Fall Newsletter

Posted on October 16th, 2017

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). View Full News Post »

Posted in: Research

Transportation Journal Publishes Low-Volume Roads Safety Study

Posted on September 25th, 2017

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. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Journal Article

Learn about the ITE Vision Zero Virtual Toolbox

Posted on May 22nd, 2017

The National Center for Rural Road Safety (Safety Center) and the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) are co-hosting a FREE, 1.5-hour online webinar about ITE’s new Vision Zero Toolbox. The toolbox showcases best practices, analytical techniques, policy guidance, and communication and educational tools for Vision Zero (the goal of zero traffic fatalities among all road users) to make them easily accessible to practitioners. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Training Event

Center for Health and Safety Culture announces webinar on Positive Culture Framework.

Posted on May 15th, 2017

 The Center for Health and Safety Culture (CHSC) will host a webinar entitled “What is the Positive Culture Framework?” which will introduce the Center’s approach to improving health and safety at the community level.  This framework builds on the shared values, beliefs, and attitudes that already exist in a culture to promote health and safety, and uses a process that can be adapted to address any public health or safety issue. Presenter Katie Dively will share examples of how PCF has been applied in areas such as traffic safety, substance abuse, and violence prevention. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Training Event

Connected Vehicles Presentation Featured at Statewide Traffic Education Conference

Posted on May 1st, 2017

Craig Shankwitz spoke to the Montana Traffic Educators Association conference in Great Falls, Montana last week, delivering a presentation on emerging vehicle technologies.  In his remarks, he stated that the connected vehicle technologies are more likely to be widely deployed before autonomous (or driverless) vehicles. Connected vehicles communicate to other vehicles or to roadside infrastructure, which enables important updates and alerts about safety, traffic, or road conditions that can be sent directly to one’s car. View Full News Post »

Craig Shankwitz presents at MSU’s first 10×10 Innovation Road Show

Posted on March 27th, 2017

WTI’s Craig Shankwitz was part of the 10×10 MSU Innovation Road Show: From Tiny Houses to Honey Bees. Sponsored by the Office of Reasearch and Economic Development, the event provided 10 researchers the opportunitiy to present their expertise on a particular topic in 10 minutes. Shankwitz’s presentation focused on, Driverless Cars: The Evolution of the REVolution was dynamic and engaging. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Outreach, Presentation

New Publication: Traffic Safety along Tourist Routes in Rural Areas.

Posted on January 30th, 2017

The Transportation Research Record has published “Traffic Safety along Tourist Routes in Rural Areas,” authored by Yiyi Wang, David Veneziano, Sam Russell and Ahmed Al-Kaisy. The article is based on research that investigated the contributing factors for crash severity and crash likelihood of visiting drivers in or near three national parks in rural areas, and whether there were diffences in crash risk for local and tourist drivers.  The abstract is available on the MSU Publications website, and the full article is available through TRB. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Publication

CHSC Trainings from Coast to Coast

Posted on November 15th, 2016

The staff of the Center for Health & Safety Culture (CHSC) has been on the road this fall, providing on-site communication and Positive Culture Framework trainings to clients around the country: · Molalla, Oregon. Katie Dively, Research Scientist II and Senior Trainer and Jay Otto, Principal Scientist facilitated a Positive Culture Framework Training with 25 traffic safety leaders in Molalla, OR. This training begins a year-long effort to improve traffic safety culture in Molalla. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Outreach, Training Event

National Working Summit tackles an “Epidemic on Wheels”

Posted on September 28th, 2016

The National Center for Rural Road Safety (Safety Center), led by WTI, hosted the National Working Summit on Transportation in Rural America last week, drawing 120 enthusiastic participants from around the country. Participants worked together for three days to identify issues and strategies to reduce injuries and fatalities on rural roads and highways. Held in Denver, Colorado from September 7 – 9, the Summit encouraged collaboration among a broad range of agencies with an interest in enhancing safety on rural roads: departments of transportation, first responders, law enforcement, commerce/freight organizations, economic development/tourism agencies, public health agencies, local/county governments, and tribal agencies. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Event, Outreach

MSU Students take Presentation Awards at I-HEEP Conference

Posted on September 27th, 2016

The Highway Engineering Exchange Program (HEEP) is an international organization that promotes advances in transportation engineering through the exchange of knowledge and information technology. The 2016 International HEEP Conference was held September 11-15 in Helena, Montana. HEEP offers a student competition with cash prizes as part of its Educator Student Participation Program (ESP). View Full News Post »

Moving Rural America Summit

Posted on August 2nd, 2016

The National Center for Rural Road Safety, sponsored by FHWA and headquartered at WTI, is excited to announce a national summit in 2016 on rural transportation. “Moving Rural America: Advancing Safe Transportation Systems to Enhance Economic Development and Quality of Life” will be held September 7-9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. This summit will be all-inclusive, bringing together key leaders and grassroots stakeholders to articulate important safety and transportation issues that impact quality of life and economic prosperity in rural areas. View Full News Post »

WTI Welcomes Craig Shankwitz

Posted on August 1st, 2016

Please welcome Craig Shankwitz to WTI! Craig will be leading the MSU campuswide initiative to develop Connected and Autonomous Vehicles in a rural setting. Most recently, Shankwitz served as a principal R&D engineer at MTS Systems Corporation, and is also the former director of the University of Minnesota Intelligent Vehicles Laboratory. He presently serves as the vice-chairman of the Society of Automotive Engineers Truck and Bus Active Safety Systems committee. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Staff

Center for Health and Safety Culture Receives Official Designation

Posted on August 1st, 2016

The Center for Health and Safety Culture has been approved as an official university center by the Montana State University Board of Regents. Professor Nicholas Ward from the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering has been appointed as the Director of the Center. With this official designation, the Center is pleased to announce the launch of its new website (www. View Full News Post »

Posted in: News

Want to learn more more about the Center for Health and Safety Culture (CHSC)?

Posted on July 6th, 2016

CHSC is an interdisciplinary center, based at WTI, serving communities and organizations through research, training, and support services to cultivate healthy and safe cultures. The Center publishes quarterly newsletters and occasional news and training announcements. If you’d like to stay up-to-date on the Center’s most current communications, please choose to subscribe to the newsletter. View Full News Post »

Posted in: News

Dave Kack Discusses Safety Solutions for Explore Big Sky Magazine.

Posted on March 10th, 2016

Big Horn Sheep in Big Sky: The online edition of “Explore Big Sky” recently featured an editorial on the dangers to wildlife and motorists on Highway 64.  The article, entitled “Death of an Icon,” quoted WTI Program Manager David Kack, who discussed possible safety solutions for the road through Big Sky.  The full article is available athttp://www. View Full News Post »

Safety Center Makes NRITS Debut

Posted on August 20th, 2015

This year’s National Rural ITS Conference, Elevate ITS, was held last week at the Snowbird Resort, just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. WTI attendees participated in sessions, networking opportunities, and recreation. WTI’s National Center for Rural Road Safety made its NRITS debut…. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Outreach

National Rural ITS Conference

Posted on April 29th, 2011

Article from WTI eNews April 2011 Coeur d’Alene, Idaho –August 28-31, 2011 Named by French-speaking fur traders, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho has long been a hub for exchanging goods. In 2011, we will continue this tradition as we exchange knowledge and information at the 2011 National Rural ITS Conference and ITS Rocky Mountain Annual Meeting. Located on the shore of beautiful Lake Coeur d’Alene, attendees can mix family-friendly fun with training and networking opportunities, dozens of technical sessions and exciting professional tours. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Event

Sommer Roefaro presents at TRB

Posted on April 28th, 2011

Sommer Roefaro, WTI Graduate Fellow and Master’s Candidate in Civil Engineering, presented Effectiveness of Signal Control at Channelized Right Turning Lanes: An Empirical Study during a poster session at the Transportation Research Board 2011 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC… View Full News Post »

Posted in: Presentation, Student

Jessica Mueller successfully defends thesis, “Safety Evaluation of a Medic’s Work Environment during Rural Emergency Response.”

Posted on April 1st, 2011

Jessica Mueller successfully defended her thesis “Safety Evaluation of a Medic’s Work Environment during Rural Emergency Response,” completing all requirements for her Masters degree in Industrial Engineering. The naturalistic data collected in her study allowed researchers to perform analysis in a rural emergency driving environment to identify contributing factors to attending medic behavior, severity of biomechanical forces experienced in the driver and patient compartment, and an evaluation of emergency medical response safety culture. Based upon research findings, the project includes development of a series of environmental, ergonomic, policy, or training recommendations to mitigate circumstances that cause potentially unsafe operations in the driver’s and patient’s compartment of the ambulance. View Full News Post »

NRITS 2006

Posted on March 5th, 2006

NRITS sessions NRITS_2006_Agenda Al_Kaisy_A1 Allemeier_D1 Allen_B3 Askelson_E4 Ballard_Vanderbilt_G3 Blaine_E3 Boselly_C1 Brindell_F2 Burrows_D4 Cameron_A4 Campbell_E3 Churchill_H2 Couch_A3 Danczyk_A4 Danczyk_B2 Danczyk_B2_wvideo Davies_F4 Dgrabow_B1 Douglas_G3 Eidswick_A2 Flanigan_G1 Foderberg_H3 Franklin_F3 Frevert_E4 Funke_E2 Gaddy_H2 Galarus_A4 Galarus_B4 Galarus_G2 Galarus_H2 Gerfen_B3 Gilbertson_C3 Gilbertson_Fowler_D2 Grabow_B1 Gregory_B4 Gross_B3 Gulen_E1 Hansen_D3 Hansen_E2 Hansen_H1 Hanson_B1 Hardy_E1 Haskins_Hanson_C1 Hershey_B1 Hodges_G4 Huft_C2 Huijser_E1 Ivanovic_C3 Kack_A3 Kack_C4 Klatt_B2 Krause_A3 Kumar_A1 Kumar_D3 Kumar_G2 Laragan_D4 Legg_C2 Loftus_Otway_F3 Mann_H1 McCormack_D1 McGinnis_E2 McGinnis_H1 Murphy_C1 O’Keefe_A1 Osborne_B1 Parkany_G4 Parry_B2 Powell_C3 Redd_D1 Rosenbohm_E4 Ryen_C2 Sanddal_G1 Schneider_C3 Schopfer_G4 Scott_H3 Shaw_H3 Shi_A1 Shi_C1 Smadi_E3 Stanley_E1 Starr_C2 Stickel_B4 Stickel_E4 Stickel_H1 Strong_B2 Strong_F4 Thompson_B4 Thompson_D2 Turnbull_H4 Virshbo_E3 White_A2 Wolff_A4 Young_A2 Young_C4 Zhang_F4… View Full News Post »

Posted in: Event Archives

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