Transportation Technology Tournament

2021 Transportation Technology Tournament is Now Open!

Sign-up now to solve a real-world transportation challenge


The National Operations Center of Excellence (NOCoE) and the U.S. DOT ITS JPO PCB program are hosting a competition for students to work directly with public agencies to solve real-world transportation problems utilizing ITS and TSMO solutions.

Student teams will assemble to work with a State or local DOT, MPO, or transit agency to define a transportation problem. After submitting an initial contest application identifying the team and the problem, students will work with academic advisors to learn about potential ITS and TSMO solutions via online training programs outlined below. Teams will then utilize their experience, education, and new coursework to develop a solution or suite of solutions to directly address the originally defined problem. Students will submit their solutions via a proposal. Finalist teams will develop a presentation and then participate in a live event during the summer of 2021. Teams will give a presentation in front of a panel of judges made up of leaders in the ITS and TSMO community. One team will then be selected as the 2021 Transportation Technology Tournament Winner.

The 2018 - 2020 tournaments featured extremely competitive teams with innovative solutions. More information on previous years is available via the menu on your left.

Sign-up for the 2021 tournament using the form on the left.

Challenge Problems

Each team will select a specific challenge problem to work on and a specific agency to work with on that problem. The challenge problem can be chosen from the list provided below (more may be added) or created with a partner agency. More examples of challenge problems can be found from the resources from the three previous years via the links to your left.

Challenge Problems Available to Student Teams

District DOT (Washington, DC): 

  1. Mobility as a Service/Urban Mobility Wallet Framework: With the increase in new mobility services, new opportunities exist to better manage public and private transportation providers together and leverage their respective strengths to maximize their potential. Whether using scooters, bikeshare, transit, carshare, or TNCs, cities want to create a seamless, multimodal travel experience for residents while encouraging connections to transit and more sustainable modes.
  2. Crash Data Reporting: The project team would provide value by automating the process of assigning a proper collision type based on the narrative descriptions using artificial intelligence approaches.
  3. Urban Arterial Metering and Congestion Pricing
  4. Curbside management (details to be discussed with District DOT)
  5. Bikeshare Impact Tool: Using available data sources, develop a quantitative analysis tool for evaluating the impacts of new developments on the existing Capital Bikeshare network and develop justification to support DDOT-requested bikeshare stations as mitigation for new developments.
  6. Bus stop connectivity (with WMATA): incorporate TSMO or ITS approach to identify opportunities to increase sidewalk connections with bus stops, possibly including identification of differences between walking distance and straight-line distance. 

Michigan DOT: 

  1. Congestion mitigation, safety and mobility improvements along M-44 from M-11 to Knapp Street: Develop a plan to improve reoccurring PM congestion in an area with housing and business growth.
  2. Traffic flow improvements along northbound US-131 M-6 to Post Drive: Identify and justify technology based congestion management solutions for reoccurring PM congestion.
  3. Freeway Corridor Operations plan along I-94, Kalamazoo to Benton Harbor:  Develop a plan during Lake Effect Snow Events, including identification of stakeholders, technology solutions, and mitigation strategies.

Tennessee DOT: 

  1. I-26 Corridor Management, Johnson City to Kingsport
  2. Nashville mobility challenge, first and last mile solutions in one of the nation’s fastest growing cities
  3. High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lane Violations in Nashville & Memphis. In 2018 a report conducted by Vanderbilt and TSU showed an average HOV violation rate of 88% in Tennessee.
  4. Nashville Downtown Interloop Traffic Operation Improvements. The Nashville Interloop experiences a high level of congestion due to weaving traffic.
  5. Rural ITS Solutions for I-40 at Rockwood Mountain and I-75 at Jellico Mountain. This areas experiences high crash rates due to weather and grade conditions. This area also experiences rockslides.
  6. Truck Parking Shortages in Tennessee
  7. Work Zone Traffic Control Improvements on Highway Bridgework Projects – Off-tracking issues in lane shifts with limited pavement widths.

2021 Timeline

Below is an outline of the steps and process of the 2021 Transportation Technology Tournament

February 26, 2021: Sign-up and Challenge Problem Selection

Sign-up with your team information via the online form to join the Transportation Technology Tournament. Teams should be 5 students with at least 2 students under the age of 26. All students should hail from US-based universities, but teams are allowed to be built from multiple colleges and universities.

After signing up you'll be asked for more information on your team: 

  • List of team members, including age and degree being pursued.
  • For each team member: One-page resume (like a private consulting firm would do when they submit a bid for a project – to show they have qualified staff) and headshot photo.
  • Formal selection of the problem. (Note: teams can submit a problem statement from their own State DOT or other public agency, and receive input and/or approval by the competition organizers.)
  • Signed waivers that allow the USDOT, NOCoE, and ITS America to use/reuse/publish photos, images, presentations, etc. in printed materials and on websites.
  • A statement of team dynamics and methodologies: how frequently they intend to meet, how they intend to take trainings, what the roles & responsibilities of each team member are, etc.

Early March 2020: Kick-off Webinar Informational Session

The Kick-off Webinar will take place in early March. At least one member from each team needs to attend this webinar live. A recording will be available for sharing with the rest of the participants. The webinar will cover guidance for the overall tournament, submission processes for each check-in and deadline, and overall advice on how to win the tournament. Webinar information will be posted here and sent to all teams ahead of time.

March 2021: Interim Check-In #1: Training, Part 1

Teams will submit a packet demonstrating their completion of the following ITS PCB courses (submission - course certificates):

The packet will include proof of completion for each course from each team member. Submission instructions will be provided during the kick-off webinar.

April 2021: Interim Check-In #2: Training, Part 2

Academic or industry advisors were also responsible for teaching students Con-Ops and ITS Civil Engineering Design. Advisors led the team through the following ITS Case Study Courses, found on the ITS JPO Professional Capacity Building Program:

  • ITS Case Study Course: Con-Ops (submission – course deliverable)

  • ITS Case Study Course: Civil Engineering Design (submission – course deliverable)

Teams will submit a packet demonstrating their completion of the above ITS Case Study Courses.

May 2021: Solution Definition and High-Level Con-Op

Teams will submit a 10-page packet describing their solution. The packet will include:

  • Description of problem
    • Scoping the dynamics of the site and the problem, identifying requirements for solution, identifying stakeholders, etc.
  • Description of solution
    • How this could address the problem
    • Who the players are within that solution
  • Con-ops for solution, including:
    • High-level functional architecture
    • High-level physical architecture
    • High-level enterprise architecture
  • An estimate for the work needed to develop and implement the solution including:
    • Cost breakdown
    • Timeline
  • Anticipated impacts
    • Operational benefits
    • Safety benefits
    • Mobility benefits
    • Environmental benefits
    • Other benefits and risks

Judges panel will review the submissions and select  finalists teams.

June 2021: Finalist Presentation Practice Runs

Finalists will be asked to give at least two practice presentations ahead of the live competition and receive feedback from the organizing committee.

Summer 2021: Live Competition (more details to be announced)

Finalist teams will compete at a live event. Students will have 10 minutes to present to a panel of judges and a live audience and face a question and answer session from the judges.


If you have any questions, please contact Adam Hopps with the National Operations Center of Excellence.