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Monday, August 31, 2015

Caltrans Offering $25,000 to Anyone With a Damn Good Idea for Improving Transportation

Posted By on Mon, Aug 31, 2015 at 5:20 PM

click to enlarge K2D2VACA/FLICKR
  • K2D2vaca/Flickr
The average San Francisco commuter loses 78 hours to traffic jams each year. That’s almost three days of a life spent contemplating a faded Obama-Biden bumper sticker or a license plate reading IAMBOSS. And as last weekend’s 101 shutdown demonstrated, sometimes the standstills are far longer — and without warning.

Caltrans knows the Bay Area (and all of California) has a traffic problem, and the agency wants your help fixing it. A just announced contest will award $25,000 to the person who proposes the most unique, actionable plan to improve the state’s transportation system.

It’s an intriguing moment when state agencies turn to John Q. Citizen for inspiration. The jury’s out on whether we should interpret it as an indicator of scraping-the-barrel desperation or spirited civic crowdsourcing. Either way, let’s hope Caltrans posts some of these brainstorms online so have a record of what might have been.

The deadline is October 13, so next time you find yourself at a standstill and staring at a back windshield crowded with Beanie Babies, put on your thinking caps, and let rage be your muse.

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Jeremy Lybarger

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