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Solve the Congestion Crisis And Win $50,000

2:20 PM PDT on June 1, 2009

Have you ever idled in traffic or waited for a late bus while thinking: "The city government should put me in charge of fixing this mess"? (editor's note: Ubrayj, put your hand down.)

Well,
it's time to make notes on that brilliant traffic-calming idea. The
Intelligence Transportation Society of America (ITSA) kicked off a
$50,000 "Congestion Challenge" today that seeks to pair social networking with innovative transportation policy-making.

6_1_09_elana.jpgGood solutions to this could net you $50,000. (Photo: ITSA)

Co-sponsored by Spencer Trask,
a private equity firm specializing in high-tech investments, the
contest asks transportation professionals and everyday citizens to
submit their proposals for clearing the nation's jam-packed roads,
bridges and transitways. Each submission will be judged based on its
ability to address five issues: sustainability, safety, behavioral
impact, economic competitiveness, and speed & efficiency.

But
the most compelling aspect of the challenge is its approach to judging.
Instead of subjecting entries to an evaluation panel that might be too
tied to outmoded ways of thinking, the ITSA asks aspiring judges and
contestants to set up their own Facebook-style profile pages (register
for your own right here) and rate entries themselves.

This
democratic format appears ripe for urbanites to flood the zone with
support for genuinely worthy ideas. If livable streets advocates can
organize and support a congestion solution devised from within their
own ranks, one can imagine a lot of state and federal DOT officials
taking notice.

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