A Self-Driving Car Will Still Hit a Deer | Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and CDOT Partner with Minnesota and Wyoming to Save Lives on Rural Roads

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DENVER, Oct. 1, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Rural roads carry less than half of U.S. traffic yet account for 53 percent of the nation’s vehicular fatalities. To address the safety concerns of rural roads, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), announced today that they are working with the states of Minnesota and Wyoming to launch the RoadX Rural Road Safety Challenge, a three-track, multi-year, up to $15,000 cash prize competition that encourages problem solvers to address rural transportation safety issues. The Challenge is open to anyone 18 years and older living in the U.S. in the pursuit of technology-driven safety solutions.

“We know that Colorado is leading the nation in smart road technologies, now is the time to apply this innovative spirit to one of our nation’s most perilous passageways (rural roads),” Governor Hickenlooper said. “Rural road safety is not just a Colorado issue. Which is why we’re partnering with our friends in Minnesota and Wyoming. We challenge technology trailblazers across the U.S. to help us save lives and make travel safer for all.”

There are three contributing factors that make rural roads particularly hazardous: sharp turns, soft shoulders and wildlife collisions. Of these factors, wildlife encounters can be the deadliest. In fact, along a stretch of rural highway in western Colorado, 66 percent of vehicular deaths over the last five years have involved wildlife — that’s much higher than the national average. These wrecks are also costly; the U.S. insurance industry annually pays out nearly $1.8 billion in claims for all wildlife-vehicle collisions and the average property damage cost of animal-vehicle collisions is estimated at $4,000.

To address these deadly and pricey crashes, the first track of the three track RoadX Rural Safety Challenge will focus on wildlife vehicle collisions.

“This Challenge is open to anyone who wants to mitigate rural road safety hazards and get cash while doing it,” said Amy Ford, chief of advanced mobility, Colorado Department of Transportation. “The goal is to solicit innovative technical solutions, even innovative technical solutions that will interact with the future of transportation such as self-driving cars. And we aren’t just looking for great ideas; we’re looking for actionable concepts that can be implemented nationwide.”

About the Rural Road Safety Wildlife Vehicle Collision (WVC) Challenge:

  • The Rural Road Safety WVC Challenge opens on September 28, 2018
  • The Rural Road Safety WVC Challenge deadline for entries is January 31, 2019
  • Anyone over the age of 18 can submit their ideas, as an individual or as part of team, classroom, company or community in English or Spanish
  • The idea must be a comprehensive and implementable concept that solves the unique problem defined on the submission form
  • Cash prize of $15,000 for initial concept implementation, an additional $5,000 for each additional implementation in the field

All entries must be submitted through CDOT via www.roadxchallenge.com. Proposals are due January 31, 2019. Finalists will be selected in February 2019. For more information about the RoadX Rural Safety Challenge, visit www.codot.gov/programs/roadx.

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Amy Ford, Chief of Advanced Mobility, Colorado Department of Transportation 303-757-9362 o / 303-514-4913 c / amy.ford@state.co.us                          

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Contact: Amy Ford, Chief of Advanced Mobility, Colorado Department of Transportation
303-757-9362 o / 303-514-4913 c / amy.ford@state.co.us 

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SOURCE Colorado Department of Transportation