After four regional competitions, this year’s top 12 transportation projects have made it to the final phase of the 11th annual America’s Transportation Awards competition and the chance to earn $10,000 for a scholarship or non-profit in their home states.
In April, 35 state DOTs nominated 79 projects for consideration in the national competition sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, Socrata, AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The three highest-scoring projects in four regional contests became the competition's Top 12 and now compete for the national Grand Prize and the Socrata People's Choice Award, both of which come with a $10,000 check for a charity or transportation-related scholarship of the winners' choosing.
This year’s finalists created a greenway for bikes and pedestrians on what had been a highway-only corridor; improved transit service by implementing software that saved millions of dollars while boosting system efficiency and reliability; and replaced an essential bridge damaged by heavy rain – among other significant achievements.
"The quality of projects in this year’s competition was truly incredible," said AASHTO Executive Director Bud Wright. "We’re also seeing greater variety in the kinds of projects nominated, something we’re very excited about. State departments of transportation are finishing projects every day that improve their communities, whether they be a major highway reconstruction or the creation of a bike and pedestrian pathway. These projects in the Top 12 are just a fraction of the tremendous projects delivered by state DOTs, but they represent the best of the best.”
The competition evaluates projects in three categories: Quality of Life/Community Development, Best Use of Technology & Innovation, and Operations Excellence. The projects are also divided into three sizes: small projects (less than $25 million); medium projects ($25 million to $200 million); and large projects (more than $200 million).
The Grand Prize will be determined by an independent panel of transportation industry experts. The Socrata People's Choice Award will be selected through online voting by the general public. Online votes will be weighted to each state's population, allowing for greater competition between states with larger and smaller populations. The winners will be announced at the AASHTO Annual Meeting in Atlanta on Sunday, Sept. 23.
Online voting begins today, Aug. 30, and continues through 11:59 p.m. eastern time on Saturday, Sept. 22, at http://AmericasTransportationAwards.org. Individuals can vote once a day.
The Top 12 projects in alphabetical order are:
California Department of Transportation's Highway 1/Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge Replacement (Best Use of Technology & Innovation, Small category)
Florida Department of Transportation's I-75 (SR 93) at University Parkway-Diverging Diamond Interchange (Best Use of Technology & Innovation, Medium category)
Georgia Department of Transportation's Georgia 400 Trail (Path400) (Quality of Life/Community Development, Small category)
Illinois Department of Transportation's Interstate 55 and Lake Shore Drive Interchange (Best Use of Technology & Innovation, Medium category)
Maryland Department of Transportation's Upgrade of MD 404 (Shore Highway)—Improving Quality of Life and Safety of Maryland’s Eastern Shore (Quality of Life/Community Development, Medium category)
Michigan Department of Transportation's US-23 Flex Route (Operations Excellence, Medium category)
Missouri Department of Transportation's Route 65: The Rebuild (Quality of Life/Community Development, Small category)
New Hampshire Department of Transportation's NH Route 125 Reconstruction, Contract G (Quality of Life/Community Development, Small category)
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's Pennsylvania Statewide Demand-Response Transit Scheduling Software Implementation (Best Use of Technology & Innovation, Small category)
South Carolina Department of Transportation's York Street Bridge Replacement (Best Use of Technology & Innovation, Small category)
South Dakota Department of Transportation's High Friction Surface Treatment (Best Use of Technology & Innovation, Small category)
Utah Department of Transportation's Cottonwood Canyons Public Private Partnership Fiber Deployment (Quality of Life/Community Development, Small category)
Learn more about the America's Transportation Awards and vote for your favorite Top 12 projects at www.AmericasTransportationAwards.org.