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!

2018 Innovation & Mobility Exchange: In Review

The 2018 Innovation & Mobility Exchange was the first year where the MassMobility’s Massachusetts Community Transportation Coordination Conference merged with the MassDOT Innovation & Tech Transfer Exchange.

This combined event is an invaluable opportunity for state, MPO/local, transit agencies, researchers, human service agency staff, advocates, planners and private sector practitioners to share ideas, sponsor peer-to-peer learning, and collaborate on issues of mutual interest.

Their inclusion created a new conference energy, added new participants, and created new learning and networking opportunities for attendees during the exchange.

Highlights of this year’s conference include:

  • 1248 Total Registrations
  • 93 Sponsors and Exhibitors
  • A Re-Imagined First Floor Exhibit Space with a Full-Scale Complete Street Equipped with:
    • Drones
    • Electric bicycles and scooters
    • Segways
    • Oxboards
    • Brick sidewalks
    • Road striping
    • Traffic signals and signs
    • Parklets with cornhole and basketball
    • Electric bus
      and more!
  • Keynote Speakers
    • Karyn Polito – Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
    • Stephanie Pollack – Secretary & Chief Executive Officer of MassDOT
    • Jeff McEwen- Division Administrator Federal Highway Administration
    • Luisa Paiewonsky – Director, Center for Infrastructure Systems and Technology, Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
    • Jonathan Gulliver – Highway Administrator of MassDOT
    • Patricia Leavenworth – Chief Engineer of MassDOT
    • Rachel Fichtenbaum – EOHHS Mobility Manager at MassMobility
    • Robin Lipson – Chief of Staff and Chief Strategy Officer for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs

Make sure to save the date for next year’s conference
April 9 & 10, 2019

UMTC-Receipt Header

Governor Baker Signs Bill Applying OSHA Protections to State Executive Branch Workers

On March 9, 2018, Governor Charlie Baker signed a bill extending OSHA safety law standards to all public employees throughout the Commonwealth.

…AND we have a CLASS FOR THAT!

Baystate Roads OSHA 10 Hour Construction Training Workshops

The OSHA Outreach Ten Hour Construction Training Program provides training on the recognition, avoidance, abatement, and prevention of workplace hazards. Classes also provide overview information regarding OSHA, including workers’ rights, employer responsibilities, and how to file a complaint. All OSHA 10 Hour Construction Training is intended to cover an overview of the hazards a worker may encounter on a job site. Training emphasizes hazard identification, avoidance, control and prevention, not OSHA standards.

Dates & Locations:
4/3/2018 – 4/4/2018 • Mass Development, 100 Sherman Road, Devens
4/24/2018 – 4/25/2018 • Bellingham Police Department, 30 Blackstone Street, Bellingham
5/2/2018 – 5/3/2018 • UMass Center Springfield, 1500 Main Street, Springfield
5/8/2018 – 5/9/2018 • Hamilton-Wenham Public Library, 14 Uniion St., South Hamilton

Click Here to Register

More Information Available at:

Massachusetts Project Intake Tool (MaPIT) Videos Available Now!

MaPIT Image

This past October, MassDOT rolled out a new tool for project management to the 365 communities in the Commonwealth. The tool titled, Massachusetts Project Intake Tool, or MaPIT, is a web-based application that helps to streamline completion of municipals Project Need Forms (PNF) and Project Intuition Forms (PIF).

Baystate roads, within the UMTC will be hosting free workshops in classrooms and online for those who wish to familiarize themselves with the new tool. The workshops are instructor led step-by-step software training and demonstrations. The workshop trainings are aimed to help project managers, town selectmen, consulting companies, and others who would need to use the tool feel confident with the new technology.

The intention behind MaPIT is to expedite project initiation, environmental permitting, scoring, and project delivery. It does this by automating Project Need Form screening for relevant GIS layers, transferring PNF information to PIF forms. The app also maps your project location for DOT and public viewing, and upon approval, your project is assigned a number and your information is automatically transferred to the MassDOT Project Info Software System.

Since September seven classes have been held with close to 200 participants from 62 municipalities represented.

MaPIT videos are available online on UMTC’s Vimeo at: