October 21, 2021
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Seven state departments of transportation in Arizona, California, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Texas, and Utah earned regional recognition in the 2021 America’s Transportation Awards competition for projects providing safer access to kids walking to school, removing a highway to reconnect a community, and creating a better way to inform motorists about weather events to save lives, among others.

[Above photo by the North Dakota DOT]

Those state DOTs received their awards September 15 during the 2021 annual meeting of the Western Association of State Highway Transportation in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Jim Tymon

“As the COVID-19 pandemic forced many Americans to drastically change work patterns, state DOT employees continued the harrowing work of keeping our transportation systems operating safely and efficiently for those who had to travel, whether by vehicle or other means,” said Jim Tymon, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, in a statement.

“The America’s Transportation Awards program highlights just a few of the projects and programs across the country that had a positive impact on our communities’ quality of life during an otherwise uncertain time,” he added.

Sponsored by AASHTO, AAA, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the competition serves as a way to recognize state DOTs and the projects they deliver that make their communities a better place to live, work, and play.

Project nominations fall into one of three categories: Operations Excellence, Best Use of Technology & Innovation, and Quality of Life/Community Development.

Photo by the Arizona DOT

“Quality of Life/Community Development” recognizes projects that provide significant benefits to the communities in which they are located, especially in the form of economic growth and the well-being of citizens. “Best Use of Technology” recognizes the use of new technology and creative solutions implemented by a state DOT. Finally, “Operations Excellence” recognizes projects that deliver a well-functioning, reliable, and safer transportation system through operational solutions.

All nominated projects will first compete on a regional level against projects of their own size: “Small” (projects costing up to $25 million), “Medium” (projects costing between $26 million and $200 million), and “Large” (projects costing more than $200 million).

In the Western region – the last of the America’s Transportation Awards regional competitions – 13 states nominated 29 projects, with seven state DOTs taking home the following eight awards:

The three highest-scoring projects from each regional competition earn a place on a “Top 12” list of projects that will compete for the national Grand Prize – selected by an independent panel of industry judges – and the People’s Choice Award, chosen by the public through online voting. In addition, those top national winners each receive $10,000 cash awards to be donated to a charity or scholarship of the state DOT’s choosing.

AASHTO will announce the “Top 12 finalists” vying for the Grand Prize and People’s Choice awards later this month, with online voting for the People’s Choice award beginning at the same time. The organization will then announce the winners of both Grand Prize and People’s Choice awards in October at the AASHTO Annual Meeting in San Diego.

editor@aashto.org

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