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GSA offers bounty for money-saving travel app

Feb. 18, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments
GSA wants a digital tool to help agencies lower travel costs.
GSA wants a digital tool to help agencies lower travel costs. (Getty Images/Fuse)

The General Services Administration is offering up to $90,000 to anyone who can create a digital interactive tool that can harness federal travel data and use it to help agencies lower travel costs.

Anne Rung, associate administrator of the Office of Governmentwide Policy at GSA, said in a Feb. 18 blog post that, by issuing a competition, the government can harness the best ideas from industry and members of the public – and hopefully save taxpayer dollars.

“The ultimate goal of the tool is to help federal agencies drive cost-saving behaviors in travel through easy-to-understand information,” Rung said.

The tool needs to be easily replicated across agencies and should look at both past spending behavior and best practices to offer practical ways to reduce travel spending, according to GSA.

“It’s time to further ensure that travel is done in the most efficient and effective way possible and that our efforts will help other agencies to do the same,” Rung said.

Agencies are under continuing pressure to keep travel spending down. In May 2012, OMB released a memo directing agencies to reduce travel spending by 30 percent compared with 2010 levels and to maintain those levels through 2016.

The grand prize winner will receive $35,000; the runner-up will receive $30,000 and one honorable mention will receive $25,000.

Challenges and competitions are becoming an increasingly popular mechanism to bring innovation to federal agencies. They allow agencies to pay only for results outside of the traditional procurement process, said John Holdren, the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, as quoted in an earlier report.

“Prizes and challenges are being integrated into the fabric of how we do business in the government,” Holdren said.

Submissions are due April 11. ■

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