ATLANTA, Ga. – March 24, 2021 –
The Ray is taking its proven record of innovation and sustainability to Central Texas through separate signed charters with the Texas Department of Transportation Austin District, Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (Mobility Authority) and the City of Austin. This collaboration is the result of several months of discussion focused on ideas for improving regional cooperation aimed at piloting new technologies and pursuing green energy solutions. The collaboration was formalized through a signed charter with the City of Austin, and letters of understanding (LOU) with TxDOT and the Mobility Authority.
“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.”
“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.”
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.
“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,” said 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.”
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.
“Austin has long been at the forefront of emerging technology and innovative strategies to enhance mobility, protect the environment and improve the quality of life for our community,” said Gina Fiandaca, assistant city manager for mobility at the City of Austin. “With The Ray’s expertise and experience, they are a natural fit toward 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,” said 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.”
About The Ray
The Ray is a proving ground for the evolving ideas and technologies that will transform the transportation infrastructure of the future with the mission to build a zero carbon, zero waste, zero death highway system. It begins with the 18-mile stretch of interstate 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, Interface, Inc., to pursue a 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.
The Texas Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining 80,000 miles of road and for supporting aviation, maritime, rail, and public transportation across the state. Through collaboration and leadership, we deliver a safe, reliable, and integrated transportation system that enables the movement of people and goods. Find out more at TxDOT.gov.
About the City of Austin Transportation Department
Austin Transportation works to provide a safe, efficient, innovative, cost-effective, and sustainable transportation system that connects roadways, bikeways, walkways, and transit systems in order to bring improved access and mobility to our community. Visit AustinTexas.gov/Transportation to learn more.
About the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA)
The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority is a local, independent government agency created in 2002 to improve the regional transportation system in Travis and Williamson Counties. The Mobility Authority implements innovative and sustainable transportation options to enhance quality of life and economic vitality in Central Texas. The Mobility Authority operates 183A Toll, 290 Toll, the 71 Toll Lane, the MoPac Express Lane, the 45SW Toll Road, and the 183 Toll Road. For more information about the Mobility Authority, visit www.MobilityAuthority.com.