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The $1,000 Doug MacDonald Challenge - Announcement

It’s About Highway System Efficiency!

Experience has shown that techniques to maximize the use of existing highway capacity can keep traffic moving. Approaches such as congestion pricing and incident management can increase overall system efficiency. Washington State and others are working hard to bring this information to the general public.

However, despite our best efforts, opinion research shows we face a skeptical public. Despite our graphs and charts, we haven’t yet found the messages that work. Messages that show the relationship between maximizing the use of existing system capacity, increasing efficiency, and keeping highway traffic moving.

We need fresh and creative ideas. How can the public and press – not just transportation performance geeks – get the picture? What are the messages or tools that can leave graphs such as those shown here in the dust?

Here’s your chance to help make the breakthrough.

The Doug MacDonald Challenge Prize is offering a one-time $1,000 cash prize to the individual or group that proposes the most effective public communication tool. The prize is funded by Secretary MacDonald’s private donation to TRB. The contest is being sponsored by TRB’s Congestion Pricing Committee.

Your entry may be up to 175 words, and a picture, or a chart or a graph – or any combination in any print media. Entries are due by October 6, 2006. The entries will be evaluated by a three- to-five-member panel of judges. The winner will be announced at the TRB 2007 Annual Meeting in Washington in January.

Honorable mention awards will be showcased in a poster session at the TRB Meeting.

Further information on rules and eligibility details are available at

I-405 Northbound at 24th NR, Weekdays in May, 2001
Speed (mph) versus Hourly Volume (per lane)
Graph shows that maximum throughput is reached at roughly 45 mph.

Percent of Productivity Lost Due to Delay
Northbound I-405 at NE 24th Street

Graph shows lost productivity between the hours of 6 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. reaching a low of 50%

Upgrading Free Lanes to Toll Managed Lanes Could Recover Lost Capacity

Comparison graphs showing vehicle volumes on free lanes compared with that of toll managed lanes. Graph shows toll managed lanes have a higher throughput of vehicles per hour and at higher speeds.