Helping to build the
transportation system of the future

What is MIC?

Seattle is a powerful influence on the world and we are inventing every day.

But with this success comes real challenges. Our transportation system is challenged. As one of the fastest growing regions in the world, our aging infrastructure and systems are not keeping pace with demand and our tools to manage traffic are becoming out of date. These challenges call for a new partnership to solve a problem that impacts us all.

Mobility Innovation Center Background

The University of Washington and Challenge Seattle — a private sector initiative of 17 of the Seattle region’s CEOs to address issues that will determine the region’s future — are committed to advancing our region’s economy and our quality of life by helping to build the transportation system of the future.

Advancing our region’s goal to be a global leader in building a smart city transportation system, the University of Washington and Challenge Seattle have partnered to create a new Mobility Innovation Center.

This multi-disciplinary Center will bring together the region’s leading expertise from the business, government, and academic sectors to use technology and innovation to find transportation solutions.

Housed at CoMotion at the University of Washington, the Mobility Innovation Center will tackle specific transportation challenges, using applied research and experimentation.

Cross-sector teams will attack regional mobility problems, develop new technologies, apply system-level thinking, and bring new innovations to our regional transportation system.

Our Innovation Process


To ensure a robust economy and quality of life for the region, Seattle needs an integrated transportation system that is reliable, safe, environmentally sustainable, forward looking, equitable and accessible.


To accomplish the vision, everyone must be part of the solution. The Mobility Innovation Center will bring together the knowledge, talents, and expertise of the University of Washington and private and public sector partners to solve real-world challenges facing our transportation system.

How We Work

The Mobility Innovation Center will focus on:

  • Short-term projects with 6-9 month deliverables;
  • Research that can be applied in the real world;
  • Technology and policy-driven solutions;
  • Working with partners who are willing and able to test or implement the Center’s prototypes or recommendations

The goal of the center is to examine the readiness of our city’s infrastructure, people, technologies and public policies to incorporate new mobility technologies and modalities.

We don’t do research for research’s sake.

We search the globe for the most interesting, cutting-edge solutions and craft the approach and solution that will work for the greater Seattle region.


The Center is funded through discreet project-specific grants and broader grants that support the overall mission of the Center and its work.

Metrics of Success

Our primary metric of success is impact. We will measure success through the number of timely deliverables created and the number of solutions implemented to improve mobility throughout the region.

Recent Project Highlights

UW’s Urban Freight Lab collaborates with SDOT, BrightDrop, and others to pioneer last-mile delivery hub.

University of Washington’s Urban Freight Lab (UFL) has launched and deployed one of the nation’s first zero operating-emissions, last-mile delivery pilots in the Uptown neighborhood of Seattle, in collaboration with the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and tech and delivery companies including AxleHire, Coaster Cycles, BrightDrop, and REEF.

Read more

MUST: Mobile Unit for Sensing Traffic

The rise in connected and autonomous vehicles and other transportation innovations have transformed municipalities into smart cities and improved the communication of roadway conditions to drivers. These cutting-edge technologies are part of a growing movement toward intelligent transportation systems (ITS)...

Read more

The Virtual Coordination Center: Enabling Integrated Corridor Management

Managing the region transportation system— particularly during major roadway incidents — is a complex, multi-agency responsibility involving state and local transportation agencies, transit providers, law enforcement, and emergency responders. Currently, siloed information systems and legacy communication channels limit agencies’ ability to provide an effective, coordinated response...

Read more

Future Projects

Open for New Ideas

Great ideas can come from anywhere and the Mobility Innovation Center is open to project requests from anyone. Projects must serve the transportation system of the Greater Seattle region and have a partner who is willing and able to implement or pilot project outcomes.

Examples of future projects may examine how to influence social behavior related to transportation and the sharing economy; policy recommendations for the adoption and integration of new mobility technologies; the development of apps to provide users real-time travel and mode options; intelligent sequencing of the I-5 corridor to increase traffic flow; data sharing between public and private sector transportation agencies to improve traffic management and reduce congestion, and many more.

If you have an idea for a project for the Mobility Innovation Center, please contact us.

Partners & Advisors

Challenge Seattle

Challenge Seattle is a private sector initiative led by 17 of the region’s CEOs formed to ensure that greater Seattle continues to thrive as one of the most vibrant, innovative and globally competitive regions in the world by recognizing the uniqueness of our people, our culture and our pioneering companies.

Among its four goals, Challenge Seattle seeks to develop world-leading infrastructure that drives our future growth and vitality and improves quality of life.

Learn more about Challenge Seattle and its vision for Transportation in the Seattle region here.

Mobility Innovation Center Advisory Committee

Ed Doran Director of Product Management, Microsoft Research & AI

Ed Doran is Director Product Management at Microsoft Research & AI where he leads incubation portfolio development, planning, partner engagements, and program management for key Microsoft products and initiatives. Ed joined MSR from the Cortana team where he co-founded the product, led product planning, and led targeted AI innovation and ecosystem projects. Prior to Microsoft, Ed lead insight strategy teams for Yahoo!, helping build new products and better businesses across search, browse, rich media, and ecommerce.

Anson Fatland Associate Vice Provost for Innovation Strategy and Venture, UW CoMotion

Anson Fatland is the Associate Vice Provost for Innovation Strategy and Venture at CoMotion. Prior to joining CoMotion he was the chief of staff for Jeff and Tricia Raikes. Anson joined the Raikes’ team in 2017 from Washington State University where he was the Associate Vice President for Economic Development and External Affairs. In that role he managed the university’s technology transfer programs, development functions including corporate and foundation relations, Small Business Development Centers, and external affairs. He has worked in philanthropy for Paul Allen, life-science venture capital in San Francisco, and in biotech.

Karen Giese Smart Cities Program Manager, Siemens ITS

Ms. Giese joined Siemens ITS in 2018 as Smart Cities Program Manager, primarily responsible for identifying opportunities and developing full-range solutions utilizing the breadth of the Siemens ITS portfolio. Ms. Giese has 20 years of experience in traffic engineering, transportation planning, and transportation software. Previously, Ms. Giese worked as a consultant in the U.S., Australia, and Canada in areas such as traffic operations, conceptual design, and transportation research. Ms. Giese helped Vancouver prepare for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, leading a team that developed a multi-modal, state-of-the-art model to assess emergency scenarios in downtown. Throughout her career, she has participated in innovative projects, developing inventive solutions to address complex transportation issues and incorporating emerging technologies.

Gov. Chris Gregoire CEO, Challenge Seattle

Christine Gregoire is a lifelong public servant and advocate for education, jobs and government reform. She is a University of Washington graduate and was the first woman to be elected Attorney general in Washington State. She served three terms as AG before being elected Governor in 2004. Since leaving office in 2012, Gregoire has chaired the Import-Export Bank Advisory Committee and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Board. She helped found Challenge Seattle in 2015, becoming the organizations first CEO.

Amy Grotefendt Consultant

Amy Grotefendt was the President of EnviroIssues, a consulting company with offices in Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, and Oakland that engages the public in conversations that define the communities that they live, work and play in. She has more than 25 years of experience managing and executing communications, public involvement and government relations strategies on some of the region’s most complex transportation projects, including the replacement of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and SR 520 floating bridge. Amy has served on the board and executive committee of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and currently co-chairs the transportation task force. She is also a past board member, including serving as president, of Transportation Choices Coalition.

Paula Hammond Senior Vice President | WSP USA

Paula Hammond is the National Transportation Market Leader for WSP USA, responsible for representing the company as an industry leader in the emerging field of transportation innovation. Before joining WSP USA, Paula served 34 years with the Washington State Department of Transportation, most recently as Washington’s Secretary of Transportation from 2007-2013.

Nikolaus Lang

Dr. Nikolaus S. Lang is a Senior Partner in the Munich office of The Boston Consulting Group and a core member of its Automotive and Industrial Goods practices. He is BCG's topic leader for mobility, connectivity and autonomy and has consulted many clients across a wide range of industries on these topics recently. Having lived ten years in Asia and having worked in most of the world’s emerging markets, he also supports his Europe-based clients on an array of innovation and globalization-related topics that range from global R&D networks and BRIC sourcing strategies to global-manufacturing-footprint designs and emerging-market entry strategies. Nikolaus Lang holds a PhD, summa cum laude, in business administration and an MBA from the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland.

Loreana Marciante Sr. Emerging Mobility Solutions Engineer, HNTB National Intelligent Transportation Systems team

Loreana Marciante is Sr. Emerging Mobility Solutions Engineer with HNTB’s national Intelligent Transportation Systems team, working to develop strategic emerging mobility solutions – including electric, automated, connected and shared vehicles – that lead to positive impact for people, the environment and U.S. transportation system as a whole. She has broad experience in the urban built environment, working at the intersection of transportation innovation and sustainable urban development. Most recently, she led the transportation work within the Paul G. Allen philanthropic portfolio, overseeing the Smart City Challenge initiative.

Roger Millar Secretary of Transportation, Washington State

Roger Millar serves as the chief executive officer for an agency of approximately 6,800 employees statewide and a budget of $7.4 billion. WSDOT is the steward of a multimodal transportation system and responsible for ensuring that people and goods move safely and efficiently. In addition to building, maintaining, and operating the state highway system, WSDOT is responsible for the state ferry system, and works in partnership with others to maintain and improve local roads, railroads, airports, public transportation systems, and bicycle and pedestrian facilities Roger is an experienced land use and transportation engineer, planner, and program manager with an international reputation for innovative approaches to conservation and development. He built his reputation by leading organizations that plan and deliver successful community-based solutions for state, regional, and local governments.

Steve Mullin President, Washington Roundtable

Steve Mullin is president of the Washington Roundtable, an organization comprised of senior executives of major private sector employers who work to effect positive change on public policy issues that support economic vitality and foster opportunity for all Washingtonians. He is also board president of the Roundtable’s education foundation, Partnership for Learning, a 501(c)3 organization that works to increase post-secondary credential attainment among Washington students. Steve is responsible for providing overall strategic direction and management of both organizations.

Babak Parviz Vice President, Amazon

Babak received his BA in Literature from University of Washington, BS in Electronics from Sharif University of Technology, MS in Physics from University of Michigan, MS and PhD in Electrical Engineering from Univ. of Michigan; and completed his postdoctoral fellowship in Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University. Prior to joining Amazon he was a Google Distinguished Engineer and a Director at Google [x], where he created Google Glass, co-founded the smart contact lens program, and founded the robotic surgery program. His interests span novel computing and communication paradigms, high-tech with social impact, bionanotechnology, nano-scale devices, and photonics. 

Peter Rogoff CEO, Sound Transit

Before joining Sound Transit, Peter served since July 2014 as Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy in the U.S. Department of Transportation, the department’s third highest-ranking official. In that role he led the development of policies for the department, generating proposals and guidance regarding legislative, regulatory and safety initiatives. His work spanned all transportation modes, including aviation, highway, rail, transit and maritime transportation. Prior to his FTA appointment, Peter served for 22 years on the staff of the Senate Appropriations Committee, including 14 years as the Democratic Staff Director of the Transportation Subcommittee, led by Sen. Patty Murray of Washington and Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey.

Lon Tierney Director of Business Strategy, Microsoft Worldwide Government Industry

As a Director of Business Strategy within Microsoft’s Worldwide Government Industry organization, Lon supports company strategy for digital transformation across public sector industry customers and partners. This organization helps define industry-specific needs and cultivates a thriving ecosystem for partner-led industry solutions in Transportation and Smart Cities.

Terry White General Manager, King County Metro

Terry White has been appointed by Executive Dow Constantine as the General Manager of King County Metro, the Puget Sound region's largest public transportation agency. Prior to COVID-19, Metro delivered more than 400,000 trips every weekday and roughly half of downtown Seattle commuters relied on transit. Metro provides bus, vanpool, and water taxi services, and operates Seattle Streetcar, Sound Transit Link light rail, and Sound Transit Express bus service. Terry was previously Deputy General Manager, overseeing all Metro Operations across bus, rail, and marine service; facilities; and vehicle maintenance. Terry began his Metro career in 1987 and has served in planning, customer service administration, communications, and operations.

Howard S. Wright Chair, Seattle Hospitality Group

Howard is an industry leader in hotel, restaurant, travel, and tourism in Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington. He is a graduate of Washington State University with a degree in Latin America Studies, and a graduate of Harvard Business School. Mr. Wright has a passion for Latin America, having spent several years in service learning programs most recently in Guatemala. In addition to several corporate boards, he has served, or is on the boards of the Market Foundation; the Funhouse Commons (an afterschool and youth drop-in center on Orcas Island); the Museum of Art at Washington State University; and the Amigos de las Americas Foundation.

Sam Zimbabwe Director, Seattle Department of Transportation

Sam Zimbabwe is the Director of the Seattle Department of Transportation. Sam joined SDOT in January 2019 after more than 7 years at the District Department of Transportation, in Washington, DC. Throughout his 20-year career spanning the public, private, and non-profit sectors, Sam has been dedicated to building city transportation systems that work for people.

UW Faculty Expertise

CoMotion at the University of Washington

CoMotion at the University of Washington is the collaborative innovation hub dedicated to expanding the societal impact of the UW community. By developing and connecting local and global innovation ecosystems, CoMotion helps innovators achieve the greatest impact from their discoveries.

Gaia Borgias Director, Mobility Innovation Center

CoMotion at University of Washington
CoMotion Innovation Center, Box 354950
4545 Roosevelt Way NE, Suite 400
Seattle, WA 98105

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