Columbus Wins Smart City Challenge!

July 11, 2016

Leaders and residents from across Central Ohio and the nation gathered in Linden to celebrate some groundbreaking news for the region.  At the event, US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced Columbus had won the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge.

The city will receive $40 million from U.S. DOT and $10 million from Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc. to supplement the $90 million that the city has already raised from other private partners to carry out its plan. Utilizing these resources, will work to reshape Central Ohio’s transportation system.  Columbus will harness the power and potential of data, technology, and creativity to reimagine how people and goods move throughout the region.

“We are thrilled to be America’s first Smart City,” said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther.  “Our collaboration between public, private, and nonprofit sectors is the perfect example of the Columbus Way and how we lift up our residents by connecting all of our communities.”

The Smart City Challenge generated a significant amount of excitement and interest amongst cities. U.S. DOT received seventy-eight applications in total – one from nearly every mid-sized city in America. The Challenge called on cities to do more than merely introduce new technologies onto city streets, requiring them to boldly envision new solutions that would change the face of transportation in our cities by closing the gap between rich and poor; capturing the needs of both young and old; and bridging the digital divide through smart design so that the future of transportation meets the needs of all city residents.

The city now plans to install street-side mobility kiosks, a new bus-rapid transit system, and smart lighting to enhance safety for pedestrians. In addition, traffic signals will be installed that communicate with vehicles so the signals can adjust in real-time to the flow, rhythm, and demands of traffic.

“Smart Columbus will deliver an unprecedented multimodal transportation system that will not only benefit the residents of Columbus, but all of Central Ohio,” said MORPC Executive Director William Murdock.  “With up to 1 million more people by 2050, this is a huge opportunity to implement smart transportation technology that will provide a ladder of opportunity for our residents and region.”  

The USDOT developed the Smart City Challenge as a response to the trends identified in the Beyond Traffic draft report.  The report, issued in 2015, revealed that the nation’s aging infrastructure is not equipped to deal with a dramatically growing population in regions throughout the country.  It also identified a need to increase mobility options in developing regions.

Please watch this video that Mayor Ginther submitted to USDOT officials during the application process.

For more information on all things Smart City, please visit here.