Jun 10th 2015 | Posted in Transportation by Government Contracting Pipeline

They’re calling it the Missouri Road to Tomorrow initiative. It’s Missouri’s proposal to make 200 miles of Interstate 70 the first “smart” highway in the country. Smart highway, technologically advanced highway…what it all boils down to would be a fitting tribute to the nation’s oldest interstate highway.

Image of the Missouri Road to Tomorrow project

Image provided by Missouri Department of Transportation

“It’s only appropriate that the re-birth of the nation’s interstate system begin at its birthplace,” said Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission (MHTC) Chair Stephen R. Miller. “Missouri has always been at the heart of highway transportation.”

It’s not surprising that today’s technology that is showing up in many different industries, markets and segments of government should also be considered for the nation’s highways. And, Miller is hoping that opening up possible solutions to innovators and entrepreneurs will result in solutions for transportation problems. “We’re open to any and all ideas,” Miller said. “Just as MoDOT’s design-build projects over the last decade have produced insights and innovations not previously imagined, we are confident that offering free reign to human creativity and a designated site for implementation will generate the very best in American ingenuity.”

Transportation has already been inundated with today’s technology, from the creation and use of new construction materials to GPS systems and alternative fuels. Miller sees that as the start of the creativity necessary from inside and outside the state to deliver new ideas and innovation to rebuild the route between Independence and Wentzville as a technologically advanced highway.

A team of MoDOT experts has been appointed to solicit and evaluate ideas from the private sector. What the agency is looking for is not just innovations in traffic engineering, design and construction, but also bringing to the discussion table possible new and creative ways to finance transportation infrastructure.

Miller is not discounting the fact that these innovative would-be solutions are not right around the corner and that the state will continue to have to find funding sources that can be used to maintain the current system. Plans for how the proposals will be vetted by the state and how the state might move forward on them are still issues for discussion. MoDOT officials are operating on the premise that “there are no bad ideas.”

For information on how to get involved in the Missouri Road to Tomorrow initiative and other upcoming transportation projects contact one of our consultants!