2020 STIC Excellence Award winners build robust innovation cultures
State Transportation Innovation Councils (STIC) in Arizona and Maryland received 2020 STIC Excellence Awards for demonstrating success in fostering a strong culture of innovation in their transportation communities.
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and Federal Highway Administration sponsor the annual award to promote innovation nationwide. The latest awards mark the fifth time the two organizations have collaborated to recognize excellence in STICs.
The Arizona Council for Transportation Innovation (ACTI) uses a three-pronged approach of diverse membership, ongoing outreach, and a long-range perspective to advance innovation. ACTI leverages perspectives from public agencies and private organizations to better evaluate and capitalize on innovation opportunities.
To plant the seeds for innovation, ACTI’s outreach includes Innovation Exchange Days on Every Day Counts (EDC) innovations and future trends in transportation. The council selects innovations that are a good fit for Arizona projects and communities, brings together diverse champions who see the innovations through to deployment, and provides training and funding to support adoption of the innovations.
ACTI is reaping the fruits of its efforts. Arizona has innovative projects statewide, ACTI implementation teams have developed and expanded innovative tools, and specifications spearheaded by ACTI are now used as standard practice by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and its partners.
The ACTI team developed an AZ STEP website with an interactive countermeasure selection tool based on FHWA’s “Guide for Improving Pedestrian Safety at Uncontrolled Crossing Locations.” The website provides links to Arizona installation examples, countermeasure illustrations, and references to laws and guidance for treatment designs.
ADOT and regional planning agencies are developing Sun Cloud, a data portal serving the transportation planning needs of Arizona’s Sun Corridor. Funded with an Accelerated Innovation Deployment (AID) Demonstration grant award, this data portal will improve the accessibility, usability, and quality of data and analytical tools vital to transportation planning in the five-county region.
The Sun Corridor Value Impact Analysis project combines two travel demand models of three metropolitan planning organizations to quantify the economic impact of transportation investments. The more thorough understanding of the financial benefits of transportation investments that the analysis tool provides will better equip the region to leverage investments beyond the transportation sector to stimulate economic growth.
The Maryland Transportation Innovation Council is a multistakeholder leadership group that embraces innovation at a strategic level and creates a culture of innovation. The Maryland STIC credits having a Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) employee dedicated to overseeing innovation deployment as a key factor in the STIC’s success. This staff member co-chairs the Maryland Quality Initiative (MdQI) Innovation Subcommittee and provides a central point of contact for innovation-focused programs such as EDC, AID Demonstration, and STIC Incentive.
The Maryland STIC and MdQI, a forum that fosters quality improvement in transportation, launched the MdQI Innovation Subcommittee to facilitate rapid implementation of technology and techniques in the public and private sectors. The subcommittee helps solicit innovations, inviting individuals and teams to submit ideas for review and making recommendations to the Maryland STIC. The subcommittee created a website to share information and resources on advancing innovation.
The culture of innovation has inspired innovative efforts at MDOT, such as Project Green Light in which employees pitched ideas in a friendly presentation environment. The ideas focused on customer service, innovation, modernization, and communication, and winning applicants were empowered to implement their innovations.
MDOT also held an Operations Innovation Showcase to highlight innovations developed by staff throughout the State. Employees shared with their colleagues information on equipment modifications to save time and money, the use of unmanned aerial systems to survey landslides and pavement conditions, and temporary rumble strips to enhance work zone safety.
The Maryland STIC has advanced 35 EDC initiatives to make innovation a permanent tool in the project delivery toolbox. The STIC has used STIC Incentive funding on projects to implement accelerated bridge construction, traffic incident management, e-Construction, pavement preservation, advanced geotechnical methods in exploration, and STEP.