Western Transportation Institute - Small Urban and Rural Livability Center

Small Urban and Rural Livability Center (SURLC)

SURLC combines the talents of the Western Transportation Institute (WTI) and the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute (UGPTI) into an organization that can enhance livability in small urban and rural communities.


The mission of the Small Urban and Rural Livability Center is to conduct research and provide leadership, education, workforce development and technology transfer in all transportation related aspects of livability focusing specifically on small urban and rural areas.

Livability Principles

SURLC will focus on the six key livability principles (as defined by the U.S. DOT), which are:

Key Staff

David Kack, Director
Phone: 406-994-7526
Email: dkack@coe.montana.edu
Fax: 406-994-1697
Mailing address:
Western Transportation Institute
College of Engineering
Montana State University
PO Box 174250
Bozeman, MT 59717
Jill Hough, Deputy Director
Phone: 701-231-8082
Email: jill.hough@ndsu.edu
Mailing address:
Small Urban & Rural Transit Center
Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute
North Dakota State University
P.O. Box 6050
Fargo, ND 58108-6050


The North Dakota Oil Boom's Impact on Livability in Western North Dakota

University North Dakota State University
Principal Investigator Del Peterson
PI Contact Information Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute
North Dakota State University
NDSU Dept. 2880
P.O. Box 6050
Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Funding Source(s) (Amounts provided by each agency or organization) USDOT UTC - $70,568
NDSU - $71,058
Total Project Cost $141,626
Agency ID or Contract Number DTRT13-G-UTC46
Start and End Dates March 1, 2014 – February 28, 2015
Brief Description of Research Project

The western half of North Dakota has experienced tremendous growth in recent years due to increased oil exploration and drilling. Along with this has come transportation and housing issues that affect everyone involved. The Highway 2 corridor in northwest North Dakota has seen a dramatic increase in traffic volumes while local airports have seen a substantial increase in passenger boardings leading to greater demand for additional flights. Also, increases in housing and apartment rental costs have forced some to relocate to other communities. These issues highlight a number of livability related topics such as affordable housing, transportation mode choice, and the sustainability of existing communities among others.

A study will be conducted in northwest North Dakota to analyze these topics with a focus on travel mode choice and housing affordability. Special consideration will be given to seniors and disadvantaged populations who rely largely on fixed incomes.

Analysis will include the impact of increased travel and housing costs on individuals who have lived in the area for long periods of time and are now forced to make possible relocation decisions. The effect on public transit will also be studied to gain a better understanding as to how the oil boom has impacted local transit services. Analysis will also explore changes to various modes of transportation in northwestern North Dakota while focusing on intermodal solutions for individual travel.

Describe Implementation of Research Outcomes (or why not implemented) Pending project completion.
Impacts/Benefits of Implementation (actual, not anticipated) Pending project completion.
Web Links
  • Reports
  • Project website
Reports: Pending project completion.

Center Progress Reports

Program Progress Performance Report #1