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Houston ConnectSmart Wins Francis B. Francois Award for Innovation


Francis B. Francois Award for Innovation

TxDOT Houston is honored to be named the winner of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) 2023 Francis B. Francois Award for Innovation in recognition of the groundbreaking Houston ConnectSmart mobility program and app.


Transportation agencies from around the United States competed for this coveted award by submitting their own technological approaches to solving transportation problems and improving mobility in their region. TxDOT is honored to have been selected to take home the award and accompanying prize, a $10,000 graduate fellowship to be granted to a state university.

Francis B. Francois Award for Innovation

By combining mobility data and regional resources into one unified platform, ConnectSmart delivers a better experience to Greater Houston Region travelers while helping to achieve TxDOT's goals of improving regional mobility, enhancing safety, reducing traffic congestion, addressing equity, and minimizing construction impacts. ConnectSmart’s app captures rich, real-world commute data that provides new details into activity hubs, traveler motivation and behavior, and more. The data generated by ConnectSmart users is delivered back to agency engineers to provide new insights and inform critical planning decisions. The cyclical nature of the data integrations allows the app, transportation services, and agency operations to work together to improve commuters’ travel experience.


Since it is customized exclusively for the Greater Houston Region, ConnectSmart boasts local features that you can’t find in any competing navigation or transportation app, such as:


  • An intermodal Trip Planner that allows users to combine several modes of travel into one seamless trip

  • An integrated mobility Wallet that allows users to pay for transportation services, including transit ticket purchasing and parking, throughout the course of a trip

  • Pre-trip alerts warning users of crashes or flooding along their route before they start their trip or on the way to their destination

  • No-cost emergency roadside assistance provided by Tow and Go™

  • Cycling routes based on overall comfort and safety levels, thanks to the inclusion of the City of Houston’s High Comfort Bike Lanes

  • Partnership with the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) is extending the reach of the app’s unique social carpooling feature to give local employers a complete mobility suite to greatly expand employees’ options in getting to and from the office

The ConnectSmart program and app is developed by Houston-based transportation technology solutions, data, and firms. TxDOT’s Houston federal and regional partners include: FHWA, H-GAC, Houston TranStar, Houston METRO, City of Houston, Harris County Transit, Fort Bend Transit, The Woodlands, Conroe Connection. TxDOT’s Houston technology partners include: Metropia Inc., Texas A&M Transportation Institute, HNTB, ICF, Mindhop, Park Houston, HERE, Applied Information, HillDay Public Relations, Bytemark, and BCycle.

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