From the seven North Carolina bridges replaced in 45 days to the Utah highway that reduced commuters' drive time from 42 to 16 minutes, a new report released by the Washington-based American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) highlights 50 projects nationwide that showcase smart transportation solutions by state transportation departments. AASHTO officials say the projects emphasize the need for state and local governments to make smart decisions when implementing similar projects in their areas.

The projects listed in "Smart Solutions: 50 Ways America Just Got Better" were selected as part of the 2009 America's Transportation Awards competition, sponsored by AASHTO, Heathrow, Fla.-based AAA Auto Club and the Washington-based U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and were judged on timeliness of completion, staying within budget and the use of innovative management techniques. "What we found from examining the entries is that the states are applying creativity, accountability, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness in delivering the transportation improvements their communities need," said AASHTO Executive Director John Horsley in a statement. "As a result, delays are shorter, projects are faster, and taxpayers get more for their investments."

Officials working on the projects employed creative contracting, financial incentives and disincentives for contractors, innovative construction techniques, strategic traffic management, intelligent transportation systems, strict attention to schedules, innovative financing, intergovernmental cooperation, and constant communication to improve the delivery of the projects, according to AASHTO. Those techniques should be adopted by other jurisdictions, Horsley said. "It is critical that our transportation systems receive the funding necessary to keep America moving," Horsley said. "But even more important is that our state and local governments use that money to deliver projects that quickly meet the needs of our communities in the most-cost-effective and efficient manner."

Download the 27-page "Smart Solutions: 50 Ways America Just Got Better" report as a PDF. Learn more about the America's Transportation Awards competition.

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