Technology is accelerating at a pace faster than we’ve ever seen — and it’s having a significant impact on all aspects of our society. Futurist Ray Kurzweil — who’s been quite successful foreseeing innovations like smartphones, cloud computing and self-driving cars —  predicted that “We won't experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century — it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today's rate).”

Whether or not you agree with Kurzweil’s 20,000 years of progress prediction, there’s no denying that the rate of change in the transportation industry has skyrocketed — and it’s incredibly challenging to keep up.

Transportation professionals know these challenges well. We’re planning and designing transportation solutions to serve people and support jobs that don’t exist yet — and that’s no easy task. Because there’s no way of knowing for sure what the next innovation will be — even Kurzweil has missed the mark occasionally —  the best strategy for transportation leaders is to cultivate a culture that supports innovation so their agencies are prepared to seize opportunities when they emerge.

That’s why the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) is sponsoring the 20-108 Creating and Sustaining a Culture of Innovation research project. The transportation Innovation Lab was launched to gather best practices and input on innovation culture to help bolster the transportation industry into the future.

How the Transportation Innovation Lab Works

The lab is a repository of research, case studies and dialog submitted by transportation professionals in both the public and private sectors. It’s built around the notion that innovation is created by five key drivers: leadership, communication, empowerment, recognition and measurement.

The research team, led by Burns & McDonnell, along with High Street Consulting and C2 Technologies, is gathering research and feedback on these five key areas that will culminate in a guidebook for transportation officials.

Help Us Shape the Future of Transportation

We’re committed to creating a resource that transportation officials can turn to again and again, but we need your help. Check out the transportation Innovation Lab, or download the iPhone or Android app to see what we’ve learned so far and provide input on what we need to add.

Here’s what you can do:

This is a great opportunity to help us shape the research as it unfolds. This is a timely, much-needed research project that could make a real difference in how transportation is delivered across the country.

Want to learn more? Connect with me on LinkedIn or send a note to the Innovation Lab to learn how you can contribute and benefit from this project.

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Julie Lorenz leads Burns & McDonnell’s strategic consulting and public engagement services for the Transportation Group. She has more than 20 years of experience in communications, public affairs and policy development in the transportation industry.