Eastern TTAP at
Michigan Tech

Pathways Newsletter
Summer 2015

Program Director
John Velat
Scott Bershing
Staff Assistant
Amanda Kerttu
Web Developer
Chris DelReal

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If you have any comments or feedback regarding our electronic Pathways Newsletter, feel free to send us an email at ttap@mtu.edu

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Breaking News! Tribal Transportation Program Safety Funding Notice of Funding Availability

A Tribal Transportation Program Safety Funding (TTPSF) Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for federally recognized Tribes was published in the Federal Register on June 26, 2015.  The fund accepts applications for EMS, enforcement, education, planning, and engineering projects that are expected to improve transportation safety. This notice announces the availability of TTP Safety funding and requests for grant applications.    Applications must be submitted no later than 5:00 PM EST on August 25, 2015.  A preview of the online application can be found at  http://ttap.mtu.edu/sites/default/files/pathways/summer_15/TTPSFApplicationPreview.pdf. For additional application information please visit the TTP Safety Fund website at http://flh.fhwa.dot.gov/programs/ttp/safety/ttpsf.htm

The FHWA will be hosting a webinar on Wednesday, July 15 at 2:00 PM EST.  To join the webinar, please click this link then enter the room as a guest: https://connectdot.connectsolutions.com/tribaltrans/  The audio portion of the webinar can be accessed from your computer or the teleconference line: TOLL FREE 1-888-251-2909; ACCESS CODE 4442306.  In addition, this webinar will be recorded and posted on the TTP Safety website at http://www.flh.fhwa.dot.gov/programs/ttp/safety/.

If you have any questions, contact:

Russell Garcia, P.E.
TTP Operations Team Supervisor
Tribal Transportation Program
Federal Highway Administration
Office of Federal Lands Highway
1200 New Jersey Ave., S.E.
Washington, DC 20590

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2015 Wisconsin Tribal Transportation Safety Summit Recap
Jim Allen, FHWA, discussed tribal transportation program safety funding during the 2015 WisTTSS
Jim Allen, FHWA, discussed tribal transportation program safety funding during the 2015 WisTTSS

In an effort to enhance transportation safety throughout the state, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) held the third Wisconsin Tribal Transportation Safety Summit (WisTTSS) on Tuesday, March 24, 2015.  The Summit was hosted by the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians at the North Star Mohican Casino Resort in Bowler, Wisconsin.

The 2015 WisTTSS brought together 45 tribal, state, local, and federal representatives representing 22 agencies to discuss important safety issues and strengthen future interagency cooperation.  Federal and state agencies provided everyone with background and detailed information on the programs available to help improve safety, and tribal representatives discussed their own successes and challenges.

The 2015 WisTTSS addressed a range of topics, as shown in the agenda at http://ttap.mtu.edu/2015-wittss

An online photo album of the event is available at http://michigantechttap.smugmug.com/2015-WisTTSS.   

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Working Effectively with American Indians
The group toured the Seneca Allegany Community Center in Salamanca, New York, which  provides numerous recreational opportunities for the local community
The group toured the Seneca Allegany Community Center in Salamanca, New York, which provides numerous recreational opportunities for the local community.

Christoforo DelReal, Eastern TTAP

Editor's Note: Chris spends most of his time working for Eastern TTAP sitting in front of a computer helping us revamp our website and streamline backoffice operations. This was an opportunity for him to travel and participate in a training workshop, instead of helping facilitate a workshop or training like he normally would. He provided this personal account of his trip.

In April  I had the opportunity to attend Working Effectively with American Indians, a training session offered by the USDA-National Resources Conservation Service and hosted by the Seneca Nation of Indians. The week long session took place in Salamanca, New York, a beautiful city nestled along the Allegheny River and encompassed by lush, rolling hills.

The purpose of the training was to help government employees work more effectively with tribes and nations. This goal was accomplished through a combination of diverse classroom lectures and enlightening evening activities around the territory. The schedule was packed! There wasn't enough time to see and do everything that they had prepared for us, even though some activities had to be cancelled due to the weather.

Lecture topics ranged from the legal, to the cultural, to the emotional, sometimes without boundary.  We learned about the Seneca culture and traditions. We learned about Seneca legal tribulations and triumphs.  We learned about the federal trust responsibility to native communities. We learned about treaties with tribal nations. Sometimes those treaties were respected. Too often, we learned, they were not. It was jarring to learn about US – Indian strife not from a historical perspective, where issues seems so far away, but from a personal and topical perspective where the same issues are still being faced by people today.

Each evening except the last, they had fun activities planned for us around the territory. On Monday, we were invited for a private tour of the Seneca Iroquois National Museum. On Tuesday, we attended the Spring Traditional Community Dinner, followed by a social (A big "Thank you!" to Brian Patterson for getting me to dance!). Wednesday evening was the Allegany community fair and youth lacrosse exhibit. On Thursday, we got to select from a variety of activities. My top choices (The reservoir boat trip and the canoe trip) were cancelled due to inclement weather, and I instead attended the fish hatchery tour and got to visit an archeological site at Dobbin State Park.

The fish hatchery tour was unexpectedly interesting (I'm not much of a fisherman, nor a big fish eater), and I got the sense that the man guiding the tour could talk for hours about fish, fishing, and his hatchery. Further, I felt as though I could listen for hours, such was the infectiousness of the director's enthusiasm for fish and fishing.

I think one of the points that the speakers from the Seneca Nation and the NRCS really tried to drive home is that the needs and wants of each nation are not identical. Each tribal nation is sovereign and unique. As government employees, we must approach each nation with that understanding. That understanding doesn't come from sending a few emails back and forth. If federal and tribal governments are about to embark on a project, we must take the time to meet our counterparts in the tribal government in person. We must make the time to visit the people and territories that these projects will impact.

Upcoming Training Sessions

The USDA-National Resources Conservation Service will be hosting two more Working Effectively with American Indians training sessions this year.

August 3-7, 2015
Atmore, Alabama
Course #39936

August 10-14, 2015
Devil Lake, North Dakota
Course #40111

More information can be found in the course brochure at:

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Save the Date - 18th Annual National Tribal Transportation Conference
September 21-24, 2015
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
The 18th Annual National Tribal Transportation Conference will be held September 21-24, 2015 at the Sheraton Myrtle Beach Convention Center & Hotel.
The 18th Annual National Tribal Transportation Conference will be held September 21-24, 2015 at the Sheraton Myrtle Beach Convention Center & Hotel.

Hotel Information
Sheraton Myrtle Beach Convention Center & Hotel
2101 North Oak Street
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 29577

Room Rate: $83 + tax
Cut-off date: August 21, 2015
Room Block Name: NTTC
Reservations: 888-627-8203

Call for Presentations:
If you have suggestions for topics, please contact the Eastern TTAP at Michigan Tech at conference@ttapnttc.com.

If you have a presentation you would like to share at this year's conference, please complete the form at the address below by July 3, 2015.

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2015 Minnesota Tribes & Transportation Conference
Tuesday & Wednesday, October 13-14,2015

Jackpot Junction Casino Hotel
39375 County Highway 24
Morton, Minnesota 56270-0420
Block Rate: $45 +tax
Cut off date: Saturday, September 12, 2015
Reference: "2015 Tribes & Transportation Conference" when making reservations
Phone: 800-WIN-CASH or 507-697-8000

Co-hosted By:
The Lower Sioux Indian Community
Minnesota Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
Bureau of Indian Affairs

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Study: Rumble Strips Saving Lives on Rural Highways
Non-freeway centerline and shoulder rumble strips were installed on M-35 in the Upper Peninsula as part of this resurfacing project. (MDOT photo)
Non-freeway centerline and shoulder rumble strips were installed on M-35 in the Upper Peninsula as part of this resurfacing project. (MDOT photo)

Contact: Dan Weingarten
MDOT Office of Communications
906-485-6322, ext. 136
Agency: Transportation

June 1, 2015 -- A recently completed study shows that rumble strips are proving to be an effective and low-cost way to reduce crashes on Michigan's state highways.

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) started a major rumble strip program for two-lane high-speed rural highways in 2008. Centerline and shoulder rumble strips were installed on all MDOT rural, non-freeway highways with posted speed limits of 55 mph and appropriate paved lane and shoulder widths. To date, MDOT has placed 5,400 miles of centerline rumble strips and 1,700 miles of shoulder rumble strips.

The study, conducted by the Wayne State University (WSU) Transportation Research Group, found significant reductions in several targeted categories of crashes, including head-on, sideswipe and run-off-the-road crashes. In the categories examined, the study showed a 47 percent reduction in total crashes and a 51 percent reduction in fatal crashes.

Fast facts:
- A new study by WSU's Transportation Research Group shows rumble strips on state highways are reducing crashes and saving lives in Michigan.
- Between 2008 and the present, MDOT has installed centerline rumble strips on 5,400 miles of two-lane high-speed roads.
- In the crash categories examined, the study showed a 47 percent reduction in total crashes and a 51 percent reduction in fatal crashes.
- In Michigan, rumble strips are expected to eliminate 337 crashes, saving 16 lives and preventing 62 serious injuries, each year.

"This study is one of the largest and most comprehensive investigations of effectiveness of any safety countermeasure that has ever been performed at a state level," said Tapan Datta, a WSU civil engineering professor and principal investigator of this research project. "Analyzing all of MDOT's two-lane high-speed highways with rumble strip treatments targeted to alleviate lane departure-related traffic crashes makes the results real and reliable. They can be used by other states to establish their own rumble strip programs."

Datta said future research should focus on use of rumble strips on two-lane county roads and multi-lane non-freeway high speed roads.

''Rumble strips are a proven and cost-effective countermeasure to lane departure crashes brought on by driver drowsiness, distraction, and/or inattention,'' the report said. ''We can project … this initiative in Michigan will result in an annual reduction of 337 crashes, saving 16 lives, and 62 serious injuries each year.''

These safety gains aren't coming at great cost to taxpayers. The report's economic analysis of the rumble strip program showed a high benefit-to-cost ratio. Depending on how the cost was spread out over time, the ratio was between 58:1 and 18:1. Researchers estimated a total safety benefit of more than $79 million over three years.

In another facet of the study, researchers surveyed road users to gain insight into the public's perception of rumble strips. The survey indicated strong public support for the use of centerline rumble strips. And the experts agreed: a survey of MDOT pavement design and maintenance personnel showed the majority of staff strongly agree that the installation of centerline rumble strips improves safety.

A previous rumble strip study, completed in 2012, found that the presence of centerline rumble strips improves driver performance in most conditions. Drivers position themselves more centrally in lanes, leading to fewer encroachments over centerlines and shoulders, thus increasing safety. And while drivers generally tended to ride onto or across the centerline when passing bicyclists, they did so less frequently when centerline rumble strips were present. They also found that centerline rumble strips did not contribute to short-term cracking in asphalt pavements. Further, rumble strips typically produced no more noise than that made by tractor-trailer trucks traveling on normal highways.

The full rumble strip report is available online at http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdot/RC1627_489159_7.pdf

Download MDOT's Mi Drive traffic information app: www.michigan.gov/drive 

Weingarten, D. (2015, June 1). MDOT News and Information. Retrieved June 3, 2015, from http://www.michigan.gov/mdot/0,4616,7-151-9620-355866--,00.html

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New Eastern TTAP Website Launches
The new Eastern TTAP website will provide easier access to content and provide additional funnctionality for users
The new Eastern TTAP website will provide easier access to content and additional functionality for users.

The Eastern TTAP is pleased to announce that we have revamped our website at http://ttap.mtu.edu. The new site provides easier navigation through simple drop-down menus. Once users register on the site, they can manage their contact information, as well as contact information for others in their organization, register for events and training, and request resources or training. In addition to the streamlined functionality of the site, we are developing online training courses and will be launching them in the near future.

The site is still a work in progress, so if you have suggestions or find anything that we have overlooked, feel free to contact us at ttap@mtu.edu.

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WisDOT Awarded Accelerated Innovation Deployment Funding for GRS Bridge Construction in Dodge County

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) was recently awarded $676,000 in Accelerated Innovation Deployment (AID) Funding for the construction of two Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil - Integrated Bridge System (GRS-IBS) bridges in Dodge County. This funding will provide an opportunity for WisDOT to work with Dodge County to support and demonstrate the advancements in Accelerated Bridge Construction techniques.

GRS-IBS bridges are constructed using alternating layers of compacted granular fill material and sheets of geotextile reinforcement to provide support for the bridge. The technology offers unique advantages in the construction of small bridges, including:

  • Reduced construction time and cost, with costs reduced 25 to 60 percent from conventional construction methods.
  • Easy to build with common equipment and materials; easy to maintain because of fewer parts.
  • Flexible design that's easily modified in the field for unforeseen site conditions, including unfavorable weather conditions.

For a link to a the Every Day Counts newsletter mentioning the award, visit: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/everydaycounts/edcnews/06112015.cfm

More information on GRS-IBS construction can be found at the Every Day Counts website at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/everydaycounts/edc-3/geosynthetic.cfm

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Request Training or Technical Assistance for Your Agency
We can assist your agency with hosting webinars.  We can also host webinars or other online training events with topics of your choice.
Eastern TTAP recently provided Heavy Equipment Training for the Menominee Tribal Enterprises.

These and other training topics can be scheduled for your agency.

Click Here to request one of these or any other training sessions at your organization.

In addition to the training topics above, the Eastern TTAP can assist you with road safety plans, road safety audits, and inter-agency safety projects. Please contact us for more information or to schedule these activities.

If you don't see a topic listed or have a suggestion for training that you'd like to have at your tribe, send us a suggestion.

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Pathways is published quarterly by the Eastern Tribal Technical Assistance Program, which is in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department and part of the Michigan Tech Transportation Institute at Michigan Technological University. The Eastern Tribal Technical Assistance Program is part of a nationwide effort jointly financed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). It intends to relay the latest technology and information on tribal roads and bridges, tourism, recreational travel, and related economic development to tribal transportation and planning personnel. Tribes in the Eastern TTAP region include those in the Midwest and Eastern BIA Regions. Contact the TTAP office to submit articles and suggestions.

The Eastern TTAP logo was created by Sally R. Brunk, Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Eastern TTAP and Pathways are sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Michigan Technological University is an equal opportunity educational institution/equal opportunity employer.
This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Transportation
under Cooperative Agreement No. DTFH6114H00006.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the Author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Michigan Technological University is an Equal Opportunity Educational Institution/Equal Opportunity Employer, which includes providing equal opportunity for protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.
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