Tulsa launches Mobility Innovation Strategy; TU to sponsor competition - The University of Tulsa
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Tulsa launches Mobility Innovation Strategy; TU to sponsor competition

On Tuesday, the City of Tulsa and INCOG shared the Tulsa Mobility Innovation Strategy, an advanced transportation plan funded through Improve Our Tulsa. Development of the plan began in late 2019 and will assist our city as it adapts to new forms of transportation and prepares for future modes of travel. Specifically, the Mobility Innovation Strategy is a policy and technical action plan that aims to lower barriers for deploying emerging transportation technologies in the city to better connect Tulsans to jobs, health care, education, healthy foods, recreation and each other.

Transportation is rapidly evolving, and Tulsa organizations are leading the way, fostering growth in electric vehicles, on-demand rides and improved public transit. During the past two years, the City of Tulsa engaged a broad range of stakeholders to strategize on supporting the development of smart mobility technologies. The city aims to position the benefits of innovation toward solving Tulsa’s transportation challenges, including equitable access to jobs, education, health care and other daily needs.

The new transportation technologies referred to as “smart mobility” typically involve some combination of features including electric drivetrains, automated driving systems, connected vehicles and shared systems (rideshare, electric scooters, bikeshare, etc.). Smart mobility leverages technology to improve user convenience, cost and safety while reducing congestion and pollution.

The University of Tulsa’s Collins College of Business hosted Wednesday’s launch in its newly renovated Forum Auditorium in Helmerich Hall. The event featured a presentation of the plan, highlights of current initiatives from local organizations and Q&A, followed by a Mobility Champions Working Session where attending local leaders strategized on implementation of two projects slated for immediate implementation under the plan.

One of those projects is an innovation competition – a sort of reverse pitch to identify solutions to Tulsa’s mobility innovation needs. Led by universities, such as TU, as well as incubators, the Tulsa Mobility Challenge would identify projects, a new Mobility Innovation Lab in downtown Tulsa, new AV or EV corridors focusing on AV freight, river and unmanned aerial systems or expanded use of EVs and EV infrastructure.

Collins College of Business Dean Kathy Taylor said she is excited about the overall plan and eager for TU to play a crucial role in this important initiative that will positively impact the community in a collaborative way. “Cross disciplinary teams from all of TU’s colleges, led by Nathan Woolard, co-director of JOLT@TUbusiness, will participate in the competition to be launched in spring 2023. Teams will be given budgets to develop their plan, and winning teams will receive a cash prize,” Taylor said. “It will be structured much like the Student Investment Challenge, which is engaging for our campus and our community.”

To learn more about the competition, please email nathan-wollard@utulsa.edu.