University of Texas Team Wins the Transportation Technology Tournament

On Tuesday, August 21, at the ITE Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, MN, the four finalists of the inaugural Transportation Technology Tournament presented on their technology and operations solutions to solve real-world transportation challenges.

Commencing in February of 2018, the Transportation Technology Tournament was a joint effort of the ITS JPO Professional Capacity Building program and the National Operations Center of Excellence to help push the future workforce to understand the communications, teamwork, planning, and interdisciplinary skills required to work in the transportation industry. Nine participant teams were asked to work with a local or state DOT to identify a real-world challenge that DOT is facing and to use ITS technologies and transportation systems management and operations (TSMO) strategies to develop a solution or set of solutions to address that challenge. Teams presenting were:

  • Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo working on Pedestrian Safety with the City of Detroit and Michigan DOT
  • A joint team of University of Texas, University of Wyoming, and the University of Kansas working on Using Third-Party Navigation Applications to Improve Transportation Operations Planning for Special Events with District DOT
  • North Dakota State University working on Enhancing Traffic Operation and Safety by Providing Train Information Near Highway-Rail Grade Crossings working with the City of Moorhead, Minnesota
  • Florida International University working on Pedestrian Safety with City of Gainesville

Each team had ten minutes to present in front of five industry leaders who served as judges:

  • Egan Smith, Managing Director, ITS Joint Program Office, US DOT
  • Arlene Kocher, Division Administrator, Federal Highway Administration, US DOT
  • Laurie, Matkowski, Director of Connected and Automated Vehicle Services, Gannett Fleming and Vice Chair of the NOCoE Board of Directors
  • Tony Kratofil, Metro Region Engineer, Michigan DOT and Chair of the NOCoE Technical Advisory Committee
  • Kris Milster, Director of Government Accounts, Traffic Technology Services and Chair of the ITE TSMO Council

Industry professionals, academics, and other students were also in attendance to observe the presentations. After each presentation, the judges peppered teams with questions for an additional ten minutes, forcing teams to elaborate on their solutions, consider alternative strategies, and answer questions around procurement and costs of their solutions.

deliberation, the judges chose the joint team of the University of Texas, University of Wyoming, and University of Kansas as the winners and designated the Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo team as the runner-up. The winner's solution, in working with District DOT, addressed the non-recurrent congestion challenges facing Washington, DC by developing traveler information systems around work zones and in identifying potential data and modeling needs required to manage special events.

In delivering the winner’s trophy at the final event, Patrick Son, Managing Director of the NOCoE said: “The judges were incredibly impressed by all the teams for developing deployable solutions, and we can’t speak highly enough of each of the teams who are truly tackling the problems needed to address the 21st century transportation system.”

Winners and participants alike will spend the fall participating in local and regional meetings discussing their proposed solutions. Additionally, NOCoE plans to facilitate additional discussion around the particular solutions with state and local agencies, industry leaders, and potential deployers of these ITS and TSMO solutions.

Laurie Matkowski, Vice Chair of the NOCoE Board of Directors, spoke at the trophy ceremony, stating “Competitions like this showcase our future industry leaders and help drive forward the new skills and abilities required to operate
our transportation system.”

Check out the video on the live event. More information on the Transportation Technology Tournament is available here.