Nevada transportation officials, taking advantage of the arrival of companies in Las Vegas for CES 2017, tapped about 100 transportation companies Tuesday to pitch a partnership to them.
“It’s a matchmaking event where we’re sharing where we all are in terms of our developments, and we’ll figure out how to partner going forward,” said Tina Quigley, general manager of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada.
The RTC, the Center for Advanced Mobility and the Nevada Department of Transportation hosted a summit at Mandalay Bay, and 300 people attended. They included representatives of private companies, consultants, public officials and local lawmakers.
Every company at the summit was hand-chosen to be invited, Quigley said, with the hope that the commission can recruit more public-private partners to solve local transit challenges in the next five years, such as inefficient traffic signals, congestion and research and development for the future.
One of the main themes throughout the summit was to illustrate Nevada officials’ public support for innovation. The slogan for the event was Elvis’ “A little less conversation, a little more action please.”
The summit began with Nevada Lt. Gov Mark Hutchison and Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman announcing a partnership with the GENIVI Alliance, a collaborative development community of automakers and their suppliers working to drive open source in-vehicle software and open technology for the connected car.
“(The partnership is) going to be based and focused on research and development and manufacturing of autonomous vehicles that is going to address the transportation issues in the state of Nevada,” Hutchison said. “Las Vegas is like a lot of the West, still wide open. It’s not as congested as it is in the East, and we haven’t invested in the same infrastructure levels with some old-style transportation, so we’re looking to really be the cutting edge in innovation and autonomous vehicles particularly.”
Several companies that have already partnered with the city presented to the crowd, praising the public support and the lack of red tape in Las Vegas.
Beaverton, Oregon-based Traffic Technology Services and Audi announced Dec. 6 that they are working to roll out a line of vehicles capable of counting down the seconds drivers will have to wait at a red light for most signals across the Las Vegas Valley. Las Vegas is slated to be the first region in the U.S. to employ vehicle-to-infrastructure technology.
Jay Rogers, CEO of Chandler, Arizona-based Local Motors, spoke to the crowd about Olli, a self-driving electronic shuttle that the company has been working with the state to deploy in downtown, the Strip and/or the university area by the end of 2017.
”I am very impressed with the camaraderie between private and public industry,” said summit attendee David Salter, a civil engineer at Geotechnical and Environmental Services Inc. The company finds infrastructure solutions to manage traffic flow.
He said he felt flattered to learn that his company had been hand-picked to come to the summit. He said he would be very interested in working with Nevada, but he said the company has some reflecting to do in the ways it has previously done business and worked with public entities.
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