One of the joys of leading an organization like the Mobility Authority is the opportunity to plant seeds and watch good things happen. There are no magic seeds that sprout additional traffic lanes, but there are ways to build roads, bikeways, pedestrian paths and other infrastructure that have less impact on the environment and are more sustainable in the long run. Those ideas are in the heads and hearts of engineers, students, urban planners and landscape architects.
One thing I’ve learned in my three decades dealing with infrastructure issues is that innovation and creativity are part of the Central Texas DNA; they are the reason we became a magnet for high-tech talent, especially talented young people. We have people who can help assure that the infrastructure we build to protect our mobility also reflects new ways of thinking about old problems. That’s the Central Texas way – education, government and the private sector working together to protect the quality of life we cherish.
That’s why the Mobility Authority is challenging the professionals and students of Central Texas to find better ways of constructing, operating and maintaining future transportation projects by co-sponsoring the Green Mobility Challenge.
We’re not making it easy. We’ve asked teams to work on two projects that have unique environmental challenges: the Oak Hill Expressway (US 290 West/SH 71 West) and the Manchaca Expressway (SH 45 Southwest).
Sponsors are putting up prize money to sweeten the pot. Professional Team winners will receive $15,000 for first place and $10,000 for second. Student Team winners will receive a $5,000 scholarship.
Of course, the Mobility Authority gets a lot out of this competition too. If the ideas are cost-effective, then we’ll implement them, not only on these projects, but on all future projects where the concepts are applicable. By recruiting the best and empowering them to think outside the box, we hope to bring innovative, environmentally friendly change to the way major infrastructure projects are built in Central Texas.
Applications are in and teams are hard at work on their submittals. Winners will be announced November 15 th. For more information, please visit GreenMobilityChallenge.com