CDOT head Shailen Bhatt resigns to advocate for driverless cars and other transportation tech

Bhatt will leave in December to become the chief executive officer at the Intelligent Transportation Society of America.

I-25 at rush hour, March 15, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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I-25 at rush hour, March 15, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; colorado; denverite; kevinjbeaty; i25; I-25; highway; traffic;
I-25 at rush hour, March 15, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Gov. John Hickenlooper announced Thursday morning that CDOT Executive Director Shailen Bhatt has resigned.

Bhatt will leave in December to become the chief executive officer at the Intelligent Transportation Society of America, an advocacy group promoting roadway technologies like autonomous cars.

“Technology is transforming transportation at a breathtaking pace. Our vision for ITS America is to be the foremost thought leading organization for the 21st century around intelligent transportation,” Bhatt said in a statement.

Gov. Hickenlooper appointed Bhatt as CDOT’s executive director in February 2015. Previously Bhatt worked as Cabinet Secretary for the Delaware Department of Transportation, where he directed a budget of nearly a million dollars.

In Bhatt’s roughly 20-month tenure, he oversaw the opening of the U.S. 36 and I-25 express lanes, the Bustang launch and created the RoadX program, which focuses on smart technologies like self-driving cars, connected vehicles and more.

“Shailen’s innovation and drive has pushed the Department of Transportation to work tirelessly to stand up a transportation network that can meet the needs of Colorado,” said Governor John Hickenlooper in a statement. “We wish him the best and can only say ‘watch out’ as he brings his expertise and creativity to a new set of challenges.”

CDOT’s Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Mike Lewis will serve as interim director in the wake of Bhatt’s departure.