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Eyes on the Road: DOT amps up working with small businesses
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Beginning next year, the Georgia Department of Transportation plans to increase efforts to encourage and help small businesses in doing business with the department and its consultants and contractors, state officials said last week.

As part of a federal initiative designed to foster increased nationwide small-business participation in government contracting, DOT plans to promote opportunities for eligible small businesses though its acquisition of materials and professional and technical services, as well as transportation consultant and construction contracts.

The goal of the program will be to facilitate such opportunities “of a size and scope that can reasonably be performed by competing small businesses,” including Disadvantaged Business Enterprises, states a press release from the DOT.

DBEs are “for-profit small business concerns where socially and economically disadvantaged individuals own at least a 51% interest and also control management and daily business operations,” according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian-Pacific and subcontinent Asian Americans, and women are presumed to be socially and economically disadvantaged. Others can qualify on a case-by-case basis, according to the U.S. DOT.

Under U.S. Small Business Administration guidelines, a company’s average annual receipts over the past three years cannot exceed $22.41 million, as well as other size standards established by the North American Industry Classification System.

In a press release, the Georgia DOT said it “encourages local governments receiving Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant funding to use small and disadvantaged businesses and reminds local governments to report, at the end of the year, any DBE usage on LMIG contracts to the department.”

Hall County area governments now are developing or moving forward on their LMIG programs for 2013.

Traveler system, GPS app team up

NaviGAtor 511, Georgia’s traveler information system, has teamed up with Waze to provide enhanced traffic information.

NaviGAtor 511 is a sponsor-supported, free service provided by the DOT that can be accessed at www.511ga.org or by phone by dialing 511 anywhere in Georgia. And Waze is a real-time traffic application for iOS and Android phones.

As part of the partnership, Waze will provide enhanced traffic data to the current 511 system and create a special 511 user group, specifically for Georgia travelers, within the existing Waze mobile app.

The arrangement was provided for under an existing marketing contract with Iteris Inc., the firm that has operated and maintained the Georgia NaviGAtor 511 system since 2006.

The NaviGAtor 511 system provides travelers with real-time, route-specific travel information and around-the-clock access to live operators. It provides information on road incidents and construction, as well as weather conditions statewide.

In metro Atlanta, NaviGAtor 511 also provides access to the Highway Emergency Response Operator motorist assistance.

Waze collects traffic data from its 29 million users worldwide, or “Wazers,” who augment real-time traffic conditions through motorist-based traffic, hazard and incident reporting. The data will then be verified by Georgia DOT and sent to NaviGAtor 511’s website and phone system.

In addition to traffic data, Waze offers a number of hands-free features, such as voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation around traffic tie-ups and automated verbal notification of upcoming incidents or conditions.

“Moving forward, we’re excited to be working with Georgia DOT and Iteris on the NaviGAtor 511 system to offer these expanded benefits and increased exposure to the Georgia Wazers,” said Chris Butler, director of business development for Waze.

Jeff Gill covers transportation issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with him:

jgill@gainesvilletimes.com

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@JeffGTimes

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