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Design firm for Michigan mobility corridor hires CEO, director

DETROIT — Cavnue, the master developer of the planned 40-mile autonomous corridor between Detroit and Ann Arbor, hired former U.S. Department of Transportation Under Secretary Tyler Duvall as its CEO.

The company also said Wednesday it hired Mark de la Vergne, former chief mobility officer for the city of Detroit, as the director of its Michigan office.

The state of Michigan selected Cavnue, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc. spin-out New York City-based Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners LLC, through a bidding process to lead the effort to create a new-age through-line for transportation innovation across the region. The Detroit-to-Ann Arbor corridor, which was announced in August, will include communities along Michigan Avenue and I-94 in Wayne County and Washtenaw County and include up to 12 Opportunity Zones in which investors can park investment dollars for tax breaks.

Cavnue is working with state agencies, including the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification and the Michigan Department of Transportation, on a feasibility and design study that is expected to be completed no earlier than 2022. Connected buses and shuttles are expected to be the first users of the corridor before expanding to other commercial and passenger vehicles. Partners on the project include the University of Michigan, Ford Motor Co. and the Ypsilanti Township autonomous test site American Center for Mobility.

Prior to joining Cavnue, Duvall served as the CEO of SH 130 Concession Co. in Buda, Texas, which maintains and operates a 41-mile privately operated toll road between Austin and San Antonio. He was also previously a principal at McKinsey & Co. and held various leadership roles at the U.S. DOT, including Acting Under Secretary for Policy during the George W. Bush Administration.

“I am thrilled to join the team at Cavnue as we partner with government, the mobility sector, and other private sector leaders to deploy tech-enabled infrastructure that makes public transit and roads safer, smarter, more resilient and more sustainable,” Duvall said in a news release. “The opportunity for substantial technology deployment into the world’s roadways has never been greater or more necessary.”

In his city of Detroit role, de la Vergne served as its head of mobility projects since 2016. Prior, de la Vergne was the principal of growth and innovation for traffic and transportation planning and engineering firm Sam Schwartz Consulting LLC in Chicago. There, he managed Chicago’s plan for pedestrians and cycling.

The pedestrian plan sought to create safer travel for Chicago’s wealth of commuters on foot, including eliminating dedicated right-turn lanes, creating pedestrian islands, reducing one-way streets and more. The plan is part of an initiative to reach zero-traffic fatalities, including pedestrians, by 2026.

Before that, he served as principal at Land Strategies Inc. in Austin, Texas.

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