WTI

Rural matters: Roads that work for people should work for the environment, too.

Professional Development

WTI takes pride in the state-of-the practice research we conduct in our laboratories and in the field. Our greatest satisfaction comes when one of our projects solves a specific problem on a roadway or makes a maintenance engineer’s job a little easier on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, our outreach efforts – putting our research findings into the hands of people who can use them – are just as important as the research itself.

Since its earliest beginnings, WTI has supported and encouraged researchers--from both WTI and other organizations--to share their findings through presentations, training workshops, and other forums. Building on 16 years of experience with a broad range of technology transfer activities, WTI continually explores new and refined methods of communication and collaboration, to ensure that we reach as many people as possible with the information they need the most.

With our unique understanding of rural transportation challenges and solutions, WTI engages in outreach activities that make important contributions to national transportation policy and practice. Within this context, WTI focuses on efforts that are:

  • Topical - identifying emerging issues of concern and raising awareness
  • Timely - continually integrating our latest research into forums and workshops so that practitioners have the most up-to-date information
  • Targeted - providing the research to busy professionals with time and resource constraints through regional events, webinars, onsite trainings, and other alternative forums.
Western States Rural Transportation Technology Implementers Forum

What does it take to make Rural ITS work? It takes technical excellence across a variety of skill areas. It takes creativity. It also helps to learn from the experiences of others. The challenges in making Rural ITS work are significant. Therefore, it’s important for ITS technology practitioners to be able to meet in order to share what they’ve learned and help advance the state-of-the-practice.

The Forum is an annual two-day meeting where professionals involved with implementing transportation technology solutions exchange detailed technical information about how solutions are engineered and implemented. It is a time for dynamic discussion of practical and technical issues associated with rural ITS, to promote transferability of solutions and knowledge across the ITS community. Presenters delve into how solutions were developed, focusing on applications that have been deployed in the field and are being used in live traffic situations. Technical presentations are planned for 1 to 2 hours each, ensuring that this level of detail may be presented and understood. In-depth equipment demonstrations and numerous opportunities for networking with peers are also part of the agenda.

Share what you have learned and learn from others. For more information, please contact at the Western Transportation Institute, (406) 994-7643.

Conference website: http://www.westernstatesforum.org/

National Summit for Rural Traffic Safety Culture

Why Traffic Safety Culture? Traffic crashes represent the largest cause of fatal injury for nearly all age groups, especially in rural America. Rural states such as Montana have the misfortune of having the highest traffic fatality rates both in terms of exposure (VMT) and population risk (per capita). Driver behavior represents the single largest causal factor for these traffic crashes. Specifically, most crashes result from poor decision making rather than misperceiving information or not having the requisite skills to act correctly. This implies that most crash-related behavior factors – such as speeding, drunk driving, failure to yield, seat belt non-compliance – are the direct result of deliberate decisions by drivers that increase crash risk and injury severity. Consequently, unless we can focus our research efforts on understanding how culture influences driver attitudes and decision-making processes, we cannot expect to engineer a fundamental and enduring change in driver behavior in our transportation systems.

Conference website: http://wtirtsc.coe.montana.edu/index.html

National Rural ITS Conference

This conference provides participants the opportunity to network and share experiences within and across a wide variety of ITS disciplines. In addition to traditional ITS topics, this event will bring together both traditional and non-traditional ITS users to address such issues as rural safety, creating and maintaining livable/sustainable communities, multi-agency coordination, and workforce development, as well as EMS and transit issues.

The many different training and networking opportunities available through this event will provide participants with the tools necessary to effectively plan and deploy ITS technologies within their own jurisdictions.

Conference website: http://www.nritsconference.org/

National Winter Maintenance Peer Exchange

As each state makes its journey to improve snow and ice control operations, road and maintenance agencies identify emerging needs for new equipment, the improved deicing and anti‐icing materials, and refined snow removal methods, in order to meet increasing demands. While progress has been great over the years, stakeholders determined that this needs assessment process could be expedited by bringing together state DOT snow and ice control experts and the private sector providing equipment, materials and services to share information and network on snow and ice control related issues. They also wanted the forum to include research organizations, who could identify gaps in communication, knowledge and technology and develop strategies to bridge those gaps.

Conference website: National Winter Maintenance Peer Exchange