The U.S. Department of Transportation's Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) hosted Members of Congress and staff for a Transportation Innovation Tour during Memorial Day week—May 27 through Friday, May 30, 2008.
During the tour, which included stops in Albany, San Francisco, Sacramento, Minneapolis, and Detroit, participants joined top researchers from industry, academia, and government who are advancing Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) technologies, alternative fuels research, nanotechnology applications for the transportation system, and other leading-edge research being conducted at sites across the country.
Participants were given an opportunity to drive hydrogen-powered and other alternative fueled vehicles, test the latest crash-avoidance technologies and real-time traffic information and navigation systems, tour one of the nation's leading nanotechnology research centers, and meet with innovators who are finding 21st century solutions to the challenges facing our nation's transportation system.
The tour kicked off at State University of New York (SUNY)-Albany Nanotechnology Complex where participants learned about the university's work in a variety of areas, including nanotechnology innovation & commercialization, energy & environmental technology application, sustainable nanotechnology ecosystems, and traffic light technology.
The next stop was University of California Partners for Advanced Transit and Highways (PATH) in Richmond, CA, where participants had a first-hand experience with an array of cutting edge intelligent transportation technologies such as Automated Bus Docking, Curve OverSpeed, Left Turn Assist, and Onboard Monitoring Systems. Later that afternoon, the tour entourage visited the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CAFCP) in West Sacramento, CA, where they had an opportunity to learn more about, and drive, fuel cell vehicles.
The following day, the tour participants were off to Minnesota and the University of Minnesota ITS Institute, where they learned more about the university's Intelligent Vehicles Program and its HumanFIRST Laboratory.
The final day of the tour was spent in the Detroit metropolitan area, where participants concluded their vigorous schedule by visiting the Crash Avoidance Metrics Partnership (CAMP), the Vehicle Infrastructure Integration Consortium (VIIC), and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), where they observed Cooperative Intersection Collision Avoidance System for Violations and VIIC demonstrations as well as learned more about Integrated Vehicle-Based Safety System (IVBSS).
The following staff members attended: Max Coffman, Senate Appropriations Committee; Shira Bergstein, Senate Commerce Committee; Suzanne Newhouse, Senate Commerce Committee; Jackie Schmitz, House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure; Alex Herrgott, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works; Tind Ryen, House Science and Technology Committee; David Quinalty; U.S. Senator John Ensign; Ryan Bowley; U.S. Congressman Henry Brown, Jr.; Katy Dawson; U.S. Congressman Russ Carnahan; Steven Carlson; and U.S. Congressman Michael Capuano.