Caltrans Offering $25,000 to Anyone With a Damn Good Idea for Improving Transportation

The average San Francisco commuter loses 78 hours to traffic jams each year. That’s almost three days of a life spent contemplating a faded Obama-Biden bumper sticker or a license plate reading IAMBOSS. And as last weekend’s 101 shutdown demonstrated, sometimes the standstills are far longer — and without warning.

Caltrans knows the Bay Area (and all of California) has a traffic problem, and the agency wants your help fixing it. A just announced contest will award $25,000 to the person who proposes the most unique, actionable plan to improve the state’s transportation system.

[jump] It’s an intriguing moment when state agencies turn to John Q. Citizen for inspiration. The jury’s out on whether we should interpret it as an indicator of scraping-the-barrel desperation or spirited civic crowdsourcing. Either way, let’s hope Caltrans posts some of these brainstorms online so have a record of what might have been.

The deadline is October 13, so next time you find yourself at a standstill and staring at a back windshield crowded with Beanie Babies, put on your thinking caps, and let rage be your muse.

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