School of Public Policy Sponsors ‘Outside the Box’ Competition

Posted: July 1, 2013 at 5:01 am, Last Updated: July 9, 2013 at 7:04 am

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Joanne Kressner receives her award from Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton, School of Public Policy photo

Josephine Kressner receives her award from Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton. School of Public Policy photo

George Mason University’s School of Public Policy awarded $17,500 in prizes, made possible through a generous donor, for three proposals for “outside the box” innovations in transportation policy and business submitted in a competition sponsored by the school.

The national Outside the Box Competition honors the late Mason alumnus Cameron Rian Hays, BA Sociology/Anthropology ’03 and MPP ’11, whose family contributed funds to sponsor the program.

Virginia transportation secretary Sean Connaughton chaired the panel that selected the winners. The panel also included Peter Rogoff, administrator of the Federal Transit Administration, and venture capitalist Hooks Johnston of Valhalla Partners.

The School of Public Policy is well known for its transportation policy programs and expert faculty.

The top proposal in the Outside the Box competition won $10,000 for Josephine Kressner, a doctoral student at Georgia Tech. Kressner’s proposal tackles a classic problem for transportation policy makers: collecting data about household travel. Her proposal would protect individual privacy at the same time it would provide decision makers with virtually real time data about individual travel.

The first runner-up prize of $5,000 was for a proposal to demonstrate the benefits of bus rapid transit in six cities across the U.S. Margaret Carragher, Aaron Gooze, Landon Reed and James Wong of Georgia Tech entered that proposal, titled “Pop Transit.”

The second runner-up prize of $2,500 was awarded to William Bacon, a transportation planner with the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, for a proposal to create a reward program for transit riders that could be used to pay for highway tolls.

The 2014 competition will be announced in the fall.

Write to Robin Herron at

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