A popular rail trail project benefitting active transportation users in the Northeast and a partnership that delivered additional transit services to the public in the Western U.S. took home the two top prizes in the 2023 America’s Transportation Awards contest.
[Above photo by AASHTO]
The Utah Department of Transportation and Utah Transit Authority took home the competition’s Grand Prize for their “Teamed Up for Transit” project, while the Vermont Agency of Transportation’s Lamoille Valley Rail Trail won the People’s Choice Award.
“We are so proud of these two projects, as they exemplify partnership, prioritize multimodal infrastructure, and deliver quality of life benefits communities for decades to come,” said Jim Tymon, AASHTO executive director, in a statement.
“This year’s top 12 were some of the most diverse and innovative projects that this competition has ever seen,” he added. “We continue to see how DOTs are evolving based on the projects that are entered into this competition, focusing on equity, safety, and mobility for all.”
The 2023 Grand Prize honored the first joint project delivery effort between the Utah Department of Transportation and the Utah Transit Authority, which resulted in the new Frontrunner train station at Vineyard City, expanding the area’s active transportation network.
As Vineyard City experiences rapid growth, this project benefits pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users by providing a major hub for trails connecting Utah County and Salt Lake County.
Meanwhile, the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail – the People’s Choice Award winner – is a 93-mile multi-modal recreational path in northern Vermont, connecting 18 town centers and linking to other trails in Vermont and Canada.
This project is open year-round for various activities, including walking, biking, horseback riding, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing, preserving Vermont’s natural landscape.
Sponsored by AASHTO, AAA, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the America’s Transportation Awards honors state DOTs and the positive impacts their projects bring to communities across the country – attracting 81 nominations submitted by 36 state DOTs in 2023.
The projects first competed in four regional competitions, with the top three highest-rated initiatives from each of the four regions advancing to the final stage to compete for the two national awards.
An independent panel of industry judges selected the Grand Prize winner, while the project that received the highest number of online votes from the public, weighted by state population, earned the People’s Choice Award.
The Grand Prize and the People’s Choice Award come with a $10,000 cash award for a charity or transportation-related scholarship of the winners’ choosing.