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.

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

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.

Hi! You’re like us!

Looks like you’re the type of person who reads to the ends of articles! Well, true believer, you might really like our morning newsletter. It’s quick, free and gets you up to speed on the important and delightful things happening right here in Denver.

Thanks for reading another Denverite story

Does Denverite help you feel more connected to what’s up in your area? Do you want to be a part of it?

Member donations are critical to our continued existence and growth.

You’re our superpower

Denverite supporters have made the decision to financially support local journalism that matters to you. Ready to tell your networks why? Sharing our “About” page with your own personal comments could really help us out.

You’re our superpower

Denverite members have made the decision to financially support local journalism that matters to you. Ready to tell your networks why? Sharing our “About” page with your own personal comments could really help us out.