Gov. Kasich Launches DriveOhio with Executive Order

Gov. John R. Kasich made DriveOhio official Jan. 18 with an executive order establishing it as a one-stop shop for researchers, developers and manufacturers to collaborate on autonomous and connected vehicle initiatives in Ohio.

Housed within the Ohio Department of Transportation, DriveOhio is a partnership between ODOT, the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Administrative Services, the Ohio Turnpike Infrastructure Commission, the Public Utilities Commissions of Ohio, the Department of Insurance, the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation and the Ohio Adjutant General’s Department.

“Gov. Kasich is to be commended for his vision of a state that attracts and develops innovation in an increasingly important industry,” said ODOT Director Jerry Wray. “DriveOhio represents the future of smart mobility and positions Ohio as a key leader.”

Ohio is an increasingly important player in smart mobility technologies needed for the nation’s growing autonomous and connected vehicles industry. While DriveOhio is new, Ohio has already made a mark within the industry with key projects including:

  • U.S. 33 Smart Mobility Corridor, one of the country’s longest highways ready for autonomous and connected driving
  • “Smart Columbus,” winner of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge
  • I-90 Lake Effect Corridor, a stretch of I-90 that will enable connectivity to monitor driving conditions in lake-effect snow
  • Ohio Turnpike, a 241-mile, four-lane test bed for autonomous and connected vehicles
  • I-670 Smart Lane, a project using a shoulder to create a “smart lane” during peak traffic times

Gov. Kasich’s order brings together those responsible for building transportation infrastructure with those who are developing advanced mobility technologies. It provides a statewide, single point of entry for companies and innovators to test and build smart mobility technologies collaboratively. It establishes an infrastructure for developing and establishing statewide standards and strategic recommendations concerning the types and use of technology for deployment as well as their financing. And it provides a coordination point with the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation, the Department of Higher Education, and the Department of Job and Family Services on industry-related job creation.

“The time is right,” Wray said. “Innovation and advancements in technologies are disrupting every industry and creating opportunities for Ohio that we cannot afford to let pass. Ohio already is deeply involved in the research and development of automotive technologies and systems, smart mobility, vehicle autonomy and sensors. DriveOhio gives us a structure to move forward with unprecedented intention and speed.”

Jim Barna, currently chief engineer and assistant director of engineer policy for ODOT, will leave that role to lead DriveOhio as its executive director. Barna has worked at ODOT for more than 22 years and as a civil engineer for more than 28 years.

A copy of the Executive Order can be viewed here.

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