Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has announced Shailen Bhatt will be leaving his role as Executive Director of the Department of Transportation (CDOT).
"Shailen's innovation and drive has pushed the Department of Transportation to work tirelessly to stand up a transportation network that can meet the needs of Colorado," said Governor John Hickenlooper. "We wish him the best and can only say 'watch out' as he brings his expertise and creativity to a new set of challenges."
Gov. Hickenlooper appointed Bhatt in February of 2015. During his tenure, Bhatt focused on public safety and worked to better the lives of Coloradans through an improved transportation system.
Under his leadership, CDOT successfully achieved a series of transportation upgrades that have enhanced travel throughout the state including:
- Opening the US 36, I-70 Mountain and I-25 North to 120th Express Lanes, which improved travel from 20 - 50 percent along those corridors;
- Securing funding and accelerating planning for future improvements on North I-25 from Fort Collins to Johnston and I-25 South from Castle Rock to Monument;
- Launching Bustang, CDOT interregional bus service connecting Fort Collins, Glenwood Springs and Colorado Springs to Denver, which has quadrupled ridership since launch and has a more than 50 percent fare box recovery.
Bhatt also focused on deploying transportation technology, creating the RoadX program and making Colorado a national innovation leader. By teaming with the private sector to shape our transportation future, he launched such efforts as:
- Being selected as one of 10 global finalists and moving forward with a first-of-its-kind feasibility study to build Hyperloop, a new rapid speed travel infrastructure;
- Partnering with OTTO/Uber Trucking to complete the world's first commercial delivery by a self-driving truck;
- Deploying the world's first Autonomous Impact Protection Vehicle to protect work zones from distracted drivers;
- Partnering with Panasonic to build the world's first commercial grade, licensable, Connected Vehicle Ecosystem (CV Ecosystem) and with HERE to enable vehicle to everything communications.
"It has been a privilege to drive Colorado's and Gov. Hickenlooper's transportation vision. While we can point to the many projects we have begun and successfully completed, my highest regards are for the people and relationships we have built," said Executive Director Shailen Bhatt. "I always say that a DOT exists to save lives and make people's lives better. It has been an honor to work with the CDOT team and the very many stakeholders whose dedication to live up to that sacred charge is shown every single day on behalf of the people of Colorado."
Bhatt will leave his position in December to become President & Chief Executive Officer at the Intelligent Transportation Society of America. CDOT's Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Mike Lewis has been named interim director.