Momentum: Issue #19

May 13, 2019


Build for Tomorrow. It’s a very appropriate theme for Infrastructure Week 2019, which kicks off today with events across the country. Working in transportation is about improving peoples lives and facilitating a strong economy through the efficient movement of people and goods. But it is also about planning for the future while making sure our system serves communities and cities across the country.

The future is something we think about and plan for at ITS America, where our vision is a better future transformed by intelligent mobility – one that is safer, greener and smarter. One that uses technology to solve transportation challenges and makes the transportation system seamless.

This year’s Infrastructure Week comes at an interesting time. In Washington, initial talks have begun between the White House and Congress about an infrastructure package that would make a significant investment from the Federal level to improve our complex transportation system. The upcoming election and varying interests in what should be in an infrastructure package can be motivating factors, or complicating factors. But regardless, Infrastructure Week can be a springboard to important and critical conversations about investing in infrastructure, and specifically, transportation infrastructure.

In the midst of these discussions, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are very focused on reauthorization of the nation’s surface transportation law, known as Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which is taking place as automated and connected technologies, the growth of big data, and Mobility on Demand are transforming how we get around. The ITS America Smart Infrastructure Task Force, led by HNTB’s John Barton and Tina Quigley of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, has been working diligently to draft visionary policy recommendations for the board, which we will review and vote on in early June. It is critical that the new law increase investment in smart infrastructure to support intelligent mobility and the technology-driven 21st century economy.

That smart infrastructure must include connected vehicle (Vehicle-to-Everything) technology. And preserving the 5.9 GHz spectrum has been a key priority for ITS America since the association petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1997 to allocate the band for transportation safety critical communications. Transportation operators and automakers in states and cities have made major investments in this life-saving technology. We know the statistics – V2V communication has the potential to help drivers avoid or mitigate 70-80 percent of vehicle crashes involving unimpaired drivers. The technology exists to save countless lives, and we must ensure the entire 5.9 GHz band is preserved to reduce the unacceptable number of fatalities on U.S. roadways.

Connected vehicle technologies, coupled with automated technology, will also improve mobility and reduce congestion. We must also offer choices that make it easy to use alternative modes, such as transit, micro-mobility, or alternative modes of transportation. That’s exactly what the Mobility on Demand (MOD) Alliance is exploring. We had a great launch event in Seattle last month, and we hope you will join us for the upcoming June 3 forum.

If you’re in Washington, DC, this week, check out President & CEO Shailen Bhatt and ITS America members for a discussion on “Converging Infrastructure,” Wednesday, May 15th at 11 am. Information and registration is available here. And wherever you are, thank you for your commitment to transportation, technology, and building for tomorrow.

Malcolm Dougherty is Chair of the ITS America Board of Directors and Senior VP & National Transportation Practice Lead, Michael Baker International, Inc.


Name: Bill Malkes
Title: Vice President and General Manager
Company: Cubic GRIDSMART

Your Job description: I lead the GRIDSMART Division of Cubic.  GRIDSMART is a company I founded, and responsible for the world’s first single camera solution for intersection actuation, situational awareness and data collection.  I have been blessed to oversee 80 million hours of traffic actuation using GRIDSMART algorithms. 

Current or previous #ITS Project: World’s first solution for California MUTCD 2014 Revision 3 that extends green signal time for a bicyclist from the box rather than the approach,  maximizing safety AND efficiency. 

Accomplishments: I’ve started and sold 4 companies, including growing GRIDSMART from an idea on a blank sheet of paper to installations in 1200 communities.  I’ve raised over $125 million in risk capital, and led 13 acquisitions.  My most important accomplishment is being a Christian Father.

What does the future of #ITS look like to you? ITS can be the “super highway” to the Smart City; with a unique ability to change the lives of those in need. Autonomous, accessible mobility can create more equal access to education, medical care and even mitigate food deserts.  ITS is the at the heart of the Smart City and the socially responsible community.  ITS America will lead the efficient, orderly, mega-transition to the AV Future.

Hobbies: Any kind of physical activity, including running and all things competitive. Service projects, gardening and diving into great books.

Family: Wife, two kids and my GRIDSMART Family

Favorite place to travel: South Brazil, Turquoise Coast and anywhere you cannot hear a human-provoked noise.

Most Unusual Job you have ever had before your current position:  In college I reported on 6 sports for 3 different high schools for a local newspaper.  Almost all of my work was through phone interviews, since there was no travel budget and I was paid by the story.  On the less fun side, I also pulled dirty laundry hampers and cleaned surgical instruments.

If you could Switch jobs in your company, who would you switch with and why?: Lauren Jochum, our VP of Brand because I love telling the GRIDSMART story and feel like she would appreciate our brand as CEO 🙂

First car you drove?: A ‘68 Chevy SS that needed a lot of restoring.

Karaoke Song: “Redneck Rock n Roll Son of Detroit”

Hidden Talent: Irritating the goalie on power plays

If you weren’t working in Transportation industry you would: Trying to be a disruptive industry provocateur in a space where it is not expected

Any other fun fact you would like to share? I can cut a rug!