The Ray, Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced that the public-private-philanthropic partnership (P4) has signed a formal charter that defines the parties full commitment to working in partnership on the living transportation innovation laboratory along 18 miles of Interstate 85, known as The Ray.
“The Ray is a unique opportunity for Georgia DOT and the entire state to lead during a time of great innovation and change in transportation,” said Lynn Westmoreland... He continued, “This broad partnership is also an opportunity for Georgia to attract economic development, R&D, new jobs and tech start-ups in the transportation and infrastructure sectors.”
Prior to the charter, The Ray and GDOT worked collaboratively and successfully for four years at the direction of two unanimous resolutions approved by the State Board of Transportation in 2014 and 2016. Since then, the successful partnership has demonstrated several high-profile technology and infrastructure projects, including the first solar road in the U.S., the first drive-over tire safety station in the world, a solar-powered EV charging station, and innovative land management solutions. This charter solidifies that partnership and secures its future. It also adds the critical element of federal government involvement and support. “The Ray is the blueprint for the future of all highways,” said Harriet Langford, president and founder of The Ray. “FHWA involvement will help us scale nationally and internationally what works and will maximize our impact.”
“Our partnership with The Ray and GDOT exemplifies FHWA’s commitment to support our State and local partners in advancing innovative technologies and practices to improve the safety and performance of our transportation system”, said Moises Marrero, FHWA Georgia Division Administrator.
The Ray is a unique model for testing and scaling up the implementation of new transportation innovations and future-forward infrastructure, defined in the charter as “a user-centered, open-innovation ecosystem that integrates concurrent research and innovation goals and processes within a partnership involving government, philanthropic, private sector and advanced technology organizations.” The Ray Highway, its suite of innovations and the P4 model that enables the infrastructure, research and testing is a scalable, relevant and transferable blueprint for other states and even other countries.
“GDOT has enjoyed an innovative relationship with The Ray, one focused on implementation of innovative concepts designed to improve safety and sustainability,” said John Hibbard, GDOT Operations Division Director.
“The Ray is just getting started,” emphasized Harriet Langford, founder, and president of The Ray. “we’re fortunate to have the commitments and partnership of both GDOT and FHWA as we work together to shape our future to one that is safe, smart, and sustainable.”
About The Ray
The Ray is a proving ground for the evolving ideas and technologies that will transform the transportation infrastructure of the future, beginning with the corridor of road that is named in memory of Ray C. Anderson (1934-2011), a Georgia native who became a captain of industry and was recognized as a leader in green business when he challenged his company, Atlanta-based Interface, Inc., to reimagine the enterprise as a sustainable company—one that would pursue zero environmental footprint. Chaired by Ray’s daughter Harriet Langford, The Ray is an epiphany of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation. Learn more at www.theray.org.
About the Georgia Department of Transportation (Georgia DOT)
Georgia Department of Transportation plans, constructs and maintains Georgia’s state and federal highways. We’re involved in bridge, waterway, public transit, rail, general aviation, bike and pedestrian programs. And we help local governments maintain their roads. Our transportation network connects our interstates, state highways, county roads and city streets. Georgia DOT is committed to providing a safe, seamless and sustainable transportation system that supports Georgia’s economy and is sensitive to its citizens and its environment. Learn more at www.dot.ga.gov.
About the Federal Highway Administration
The Federal Highway Administration is an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation that supports State and local governments in the design, construction, and maintenance of the Nation’s highway system (Federal Aid Highway Program) and various federally and tribal owned lands (Federal Lands Highway Program). Through financial and technical assistance to State and local governments, the Federal Highway Administration is responsible for ensuring that America’s roads and highways continue to be among the safest and most technologically sound in the world. Learn more at www.fhwa.dot.gov