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September 11, 2018 3:00 PM, EDT

Michigan DOT Director Kirk Steudle to Step Down Oct. 31

Kirk Steudle John Sommers II for Transport Topics

Michigan Department of Transportation Director Kirk Steudle, a champion of mobility and smart infrastructure, is retiring.

Gov. Rick Snyder announced Sept. 7 that Steudle is leaving the agency. Steudle’s last day will be Oct. 31. According to a press release issued by Snyder’s office, Steudle was the first Cabinet member from the previous administration that the governor asked to stay on. Steudle worked at MDOT for 31 years, the last 12 of which were spent as agency chief.

During his tenure as MDOT director, Steudle led several initiatives related to transportation safety, including performance measures for road projects and asset-management principles.

“Kirk has been an outstanding department leader, making MDOT a model for other states to emulate, but also as a leader in advance vehicle technology that has helped make Michigan the mobility capital of the world,” Snyder said. “Kirk is known around the world as a mobility rock star — and that’s something he and all of Michigan should be proud of.”

Mcity driverless shuttle

An Mcity driverless shuttle at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. (Paul Sancya/AP)

Steudle also helped launch MCity, an autonomous-vehicle research center at the University of Michigan, as well as the American Center for Mobility, a nonprofit facility dedicated to testing and developing autonomous technology.

He also oversaw a public-private partnership that resulted in improved freeway lighting in Detroit, the state’s first “flex route” on U.S. Route 23, the installation of cable median barriers and the use of GPS to track snowplows.

In a conversation with Transport Topics in January, Steudle said that any new road projects in Michigan will include the fiber necessary to support connected vehicle infrastructure, regardless of when the devices are scheduled to be installed.

Snyder has yet to announce Steudle’s successor.

“My entire professional career has been spent at MDOT. As I reflect on those more than 31 years, I could not be more honored to have worked alongside so many outstanding people in the service of our great state,” Steudle said in the press release. “It has been especially rewarding to have Gov. Snyder’s support to address a decadeslong transportation funding shortage. I hope to leave MDOT with a legacy of collegiality, collaboration and partnership that shows what we can accomplish when we all work together.”