The Ray announces collaboration to drive transportation innovation in central Texas

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The Ray, the innovation testbed based in Georgia, USA, has announced a new collaboration with Texas Department of Transportation Austin District, Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (Mobility Authority) and the City of Austin, to improve regional cooperation aimed at piloting new technologies and pursuing green energy solutions.

The collaboration is the result of several months of discussion and has now been formalized through signed charters with TxDOT and the City of Austin, and letters of understanding (LOU) with TxDOT and the Mobility Authority.

This collaboration is focused on facilitating, executing, promoting and building real innovative projects that prioritize road safety, improve infrastructure resiliency and protect and restore the environment. These projects include but are not limited to connected autonomous vehicle infrastructure, solar-powered photovoltaic electric-vehicle (EV) charging stations and in-road dynamic wireless EV charging.

“Central Texas is a dynamic growing community with a tech-based economy and a highly educated workforce,” said TxDOT Austin district engineer Tucker Ferguson. “The community expects government entities like TxDOT, the City of Austin and the Mobility Authority to use new technology and innovative strategies to enhance mobility, protect the environment, improve quality of life and increase economic opportunity. The partnership with The Ray is a great opportunity to bring additional expertise and experience to our work.”

Laura Rogers, director of strategic partnerships, The Ray

“In Georgia, The Ray has partnered with state and industry leaders to create the world’s first sustainable highway living laboratory, and we are excited to bring our experience in transportation innovation to Central Texas,” said Laura Rogers, director of strategic partnerships at The Ray. “Focusing on infrastructure that supports future-forward transportation technology through regional collaboration allows for a seamless transition of service across jurisdictions and provides a model to scale similar initiatives across the State and Nation.”

By leveraging The Ray’s expertise in innovation, this collaboration accelerates Central Texas’s objective to build forward by supporting smart infrastructure that will enable autonomous, connected and electrified mobility. The Ray’s 501c3 nonprofit status will open additional, opportunities to collaborate between the public and private sectors by acting as a bridge to accelerate project delivery and leverage innovative funding mechanisms. By working with the various tech companies moving to Austin and those that already call Austin home, this collaboration will bring industries together to create better results that directly benefit the citizens of Texas through job creation, resilient roads and cleaner air.

“The Mobility Authority was among the first toll agencies in the country to implement all-electronic cashless tolling as a way to enhance traffic flow, improve safety and reduce vehicle emissions,” says Jeff Dailey, deputy executive director of the Mobility Authority. “Now we want to build on that foundation by looking for opportunities to improve traffic flow and reduce crashes using connected vehicle technology and artificial intelligence. We also want to reduce vehicle emissions by deploying roadway infrastructure and technologies to support innovative vehicle propulsion systems. The best way to do this is through partnerships and collaboration such as this agreement with The Ray.”

“Austin is eager to collaborate with our regional partners to use emerging technology and innovative strategies that will enhance mobility, protect the environment and improve quality of life for all in Central Texas,” says Gina Fiandaca, assistant city manager for mobility at the City of Austin. “With The Ray’s expertise and experience, we felt they would make an excellent partner in helping us achieve our mobility goals.”

“Much like my father Ray C. Anderson shared his model for circular business with companies around the world, The Ray is ready to scale our record of transportation innovation with states across the country,” says Harriet Langford, president and founder of The Ray. “Georgia and Texas are both states with an independent streak, and together with all three agencies, The Ray will expand on our projects to create smarter and safer transportation infrastructure for Texans.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs in charge of public agencies around the world as well as chairmen and CEOs of multinational transportation technology corporations. Tom's early career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).