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1776 and Transurban Announce Startup Challenge to Power Smart Highways

Major innovation program will explore startup solutions to the challenges created by managing 21st century highways and transportation infrastructure.

 Arlington, Va. — Today, 1776 and Transurban announced a partnership to find and incubate startups working on smart highway solutions by issuing a challenge to 1776’s global network. The announcement took place at 1776 and Transurban’s “Harnessing Innovation for the Future of Transportation” event as part of Infrastructure Week 2017.

Competing startups will pitch their ideas in June in response to the Transurban Challenge. The winning startups will each receive $25,000 in prizes and travel to Northern Virginia, where they will spend three months from August to October 2017 as part of the Transurban Innovation Lab. Throughout the program they will test their products and work with transportation experts from across the country, as well as mentors and staff from 1776 and Transurban, to grow and scale their companies. This unique location gives startups proximity to some of Transurban’s highest-profile assets, including the 495 and 95 Express Lanes in Northern Virginia.

“As rapid technology advancement continues, established organizations and startups coming together creates a unique ability to tackle emerging opportunities,” said Leigh Petschel, Vice President of Operations for Transurban. “Through this partnership, Transurban and 1776 are demonstrating how businesses can drive new ways to innovate by connecting startups to larger organizations to create outcomes that benefit the public and our economy.”

Transurban manages and develops urban toll road networks in the U.S. and Australia. Their team is dedicated to providing smarter, faster and safer ways for people to travel in and around cities by applying unique skills to major infrastructure challenges.

“As a global transportation leader, Transurban has been successfully partnering with governments to solve problems and deliver transportation solutions building from innovative policymaking at the local, state, and federal level,” said Evan Burfield, Cofounder and CEO at 1776 “This partnership will demonstrate the increasingly critical role that startups and emerging technologies play in building and maintaining transportation infrastructure and support Northern Virginia’s work as one of the nation’s top regions for transportation innovation and experimentation.”

More information about the challenge, including the related application, is available on the 1776 website. The competition will launch in early June 2017 and the Transurban Innovation Lab will kick off in August 2017.

About 1776

1776 is a public benefit corporation that empowers startup ecosystems around the world to solve complex challenges. To accomplish this, we leverage our digital startup network, UNION; physical campuses in Washington, D.C., New York City, San Francisco and Dubai; a global startup pitch competition, Challenge Cup; and deep staff expertise in regulatory issues. We accelerate connections and outcomes among startups, corporations, and public institutions. For more information, please visit and follow @1776 on Twitter and @1776vc on Instagram.

About Transurban

Transurban is an infrastructure investor and long-term operator of urban toll road networks in the U.S. and Australia. We partner with governments to meet the long-term transportation needs of communities — developing sustainable, safe, innovative and efficient projects. We serve customer needs across our 15 toll roads, including more than 3.5 million customers on the 495 and 95 Express Lanes in Northern Virginia. For more information, please visit or



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