Innovative Projects History
Building upon the momentum of the USDOT Smart City Challenge, we issued a call to action across the state in 2016. Metropolitan regions representing the diverse interests of the state stepped forward and agreed that Texas needed an entrepreneurial avenue to move beyond smart cities and towards developing a smart state. In December 2016, teams representing ten Texas cities and three research institutions united at the Texas Mobility Summit with the goals of:
- Advancing the creation of smart state collaboration;
- Encouraging public-private dialogue;
- And galvanizing key leadership in developing innovative solutions to the state’s mobility challenges.
Launched following the 2016 Summit, the Texas Innovation Alliance (TIA) is an action network of local, regional, and state agencies and research institutions who are committed to addressing community mobility challenges by creating a platform for innovation. The mission of the alliance is to strategically develop, launch, and sustain a portfolio of advanced mobility projects across Texas. Working together, the Alliance has the power to leverage collective knowledge, resources, and solutions to provide a safe, reliable, and seamless transportation experience for all. As the state continues to grow, the Alliance will proactively develop tools beyond traditional infrastructure, including innovative technologies, policies, and processes.
The Texas Innovation Alliance launched the Texas Proving Grounds, which was one of the original ten USDOT Automated Proving Ground sites. While the federal designation has ended, the Texas Proving Ground Partnership, a network of public and research agencies, is still offering a precompetitive environment for automated vehicle (AV) testing. Along with cities and regions across the state, the partnership is led by three research institutions:
- The Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI);
- The University of Texas at Austin Center for Transportation Research (CTR);
- And the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI).
These partners have opened their closed, controlled, and open testing sites across Texas to innovators for complete life-cycle development and assessment of AV technology. This partnership envisions a truly collaborative effort that combines facilities, equipment, and expertise in living lab environments to advance common goals and provide positive visibility to the public. Results from their work have already served as nationwide resources on AV technology, providing invaluable early testing, deployment, and implementation insights in a range of research and real-world environments.