UMass Landscape Services Implements Salt Brine as Anti-icing Agent on Campus

The salt brine pre-treats hardscape whenever the road temperatures are predicted to drop below freezing, even when there is no snow or ice in the immediate weather forecast.

Physical Plant Landscape and Construction Services staff have been working with Michael Smith, Technical Training Specialist with the UMass Transportation Center and Baystate Roads, on introducing the use of salt brine as a roadways anti-icing agent. Smith gave multiple training workshops to the staff as the brine pilot program was set up and the correct equipment was acquired.

On Saturday, Physical Plant Landscape Services staff began a pilot program to treat campus roads and sidewalks using a brine solution of rock salt and water. A tank installed on the back of the road- and sidewalk- sanders sprays the brine solution in advance of a snowstorm. The goals are to reduce the amount of salt used and to slow the bonding of snow and ice to the hard-scape surfaces. This preventative process protects against ice formation, but uses only one-quarter of the salt normally used. This salt brine pilot program is one of many tools we have in our toolbox to respond to snow events.

The salt brine pre-treats hardscape whenever the road temperatures are predicted to drop below freezing, even when there is no snow or ice in the immediate weather forecast. The brine liquid is placed with precision on the roadway in small streams across one driving lane at a time. We will have the opportunity to provide pre-treatment at the earliest stage of a winter event.

Reducing the amount of rock salt on campus lessens environmental and infrastructure impacts to the campus landscape and hardscape and adds a useful tool to the snow response toolbox.

Beaver Management Webinar with Michael Callahan

This No Cost lunch & learn webinar will cover:

• Beaver Problems
• Management Options
• Success Rates and Costs
• Billerica Municipal Beaver Program Study
• Self-Help Training and Resources
• Professional Beaver Control Options
• Q&A

Target Audience
Open to municipal and private sector audiences grappling with this problem or interested in learning about beaver behavior and management options.

Michael Callahan is the founder of the Beaver Institute Inc. ( He began working with beavers in 1998 after founding the Pioneer Valley Wetland Volunteers with his wife Ruth. In 2000 he started his business Beaver Solutions LLC and has personally resolved over 1,600 beaver-human conflicts. His clients include over 70 municipal highway departments and MassDOT. He has gained an international reputation as a leader in innovative beaver management. He teaches workshops, started the Facebook Beaver Management Forum, and has created instructional materials through which he and the Beaver Institute teach others how to cost-effectively manage beavers.

Click here for more information and to register

Baker-Polito Administration Announces $9.5 Million for Communities in Transit Grant Program Awards

The Baker-Polito Administration announced a total of $9.5 million for cities, towns and nonprofit organizations to use under the Community Transit Grant Program administered by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT).  The annual competitive grant program awards money to be used for transit operating costs, mobility management or new capital investments.

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MassDOT Transportation Innovation Conference is April 9 & 10!


The Transportation Innovation Conference, formerly the Innovation & Mobility and the Innovation Tech Transfer Exchange, is the largest transportation innovation conference in the Commonwealth. Join us as at our Complete Streets replica display, this year with a Roundabout at the center!

The Transportation Innovation Conference hosts over 90 sponsors and exhibitors, includes live demonstrations, and attracts over 1000 in attendance from MassDOT, municipalities, contractors, advocates, researchers and anyone in between!

Register Today

Check out additional photos of last year’s conference at our Flickr Page Here!

To become a Sponsor or Exhibitor, Click Here for the Sponsor/Exhibitor Packet or Register Here!

The MassDOT Transportation Innovation Conference is set for April 9 & 10, 2019 at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA.

UMass Amherst Research Team Awarded 2019 Outstanding Paper



A UMass Amherst research team won the 2019 Outstanding Paper Award at the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. for their paper on “Can Virtual Reality Headsets be Used to Measure Accurately Drivers’ Hazard Anticipation Performance: the Promise of VR Headsets.”

Graduate student Ganesh Pai Managalore was the first author on the paper, and the other UMass contributors were Ph.D. student Yalda Ebadi, Professor Michael Knodler, Professor Donald Fisher, and former Research Professor Siby Samuel.

The study focused on evaluating the validity of using virtual reality (VR) headsets to measure driving performance. The costs of VR-based simulators can be considerably lower than traditional driving simulators.  Each of the study’s participants drove through virtual worlds either on a fixed-based driving simulator or a VR-headset-based simulator, and the participants were assessed in terms of their anticipation of potential hazards while driving.   Similar levels of hazard anticipation were found across both platforms and within both younger driver and middle-age driver cohorts.  These results suggest that VR headsets can be a valid approach for assessing and understanding drivers’ hazard anticipation behavior.

Transportation Take Away, This Week: Speed Limits!


The UMass Transportation Center (UMTC) launched the Transportation Take Away series about a month ago. These short video series on transportation engineering topics hope to be the link between the public and experts in the field.

Points of interest range from everything from Roundabouts v. Rotarys to Marijuana & Transportation to Bike Shares and more.

The latest Transportation Take Away is on Speed Limits. Check it out below:

Click here to see past Transportation Take Away videos!

MA Driver Skills & Safety Training Event!

2018 Massachusetts Driver Skills & Safety Event is July 18, 2018!

Hosted by the Massachusetts Highway Association, the MA Driver Skills & Safety Event, is designed to demonstrate teamwork, safety awareness, and vehicle operating skills in a competitive and fun setting. In addition to trucks, this training event will also include a wheel loader event.

First place winners qualify for the National Roadeo in Loveland, CO!

Click here to register today!