U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx recognized Columbus, Ohio, as the winner of the Smart City Challenge last week. What’s the prize? $140 million in grants. $40 million will come from the USDOT, $10 million from Vulcan, and $90 million from local matching contributions — rewarding Columbus for its dogged devotion to revamp its transportation network and fundamentally reimagine mobility in the city.
Secretary Foxx articulated in his victory announcement how Columbus’ vision for an innovative transportation future stood out from other finalists: Austin, Denver, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Portland, and San Francisco. As key to its win, Foxx highlighted the city’s use of transportation as a means of connectedness.
The city pitched transportation solutions to tackle myriad local social, economic, and environmental challenges. Foxx cited Columbus’ commitment to combatting the city’s high infant mortality rate with grant funds by making it easier for mothers in poor neighborhoods to get reliable transportation to health services.
As the fastest growing city in the Midwest, Columbus's Smart City experiment can emerge as a model for developing mid-size cities across America. This could mean a lot for the nation’s transportation future.
Columbus’ approach to addressing its transportation challenges relies on five primary strategies, all of which incorporate data-driven methods for integrating and updating the city’s infrastructure — both physical and electronic. One named strategy we particularly like — “Connected Visitors” — calls for the development of web-based, transit-serving technologies to provide real-time information to travelers engaging in city activities and attending events.
We at TransitScreen would like to extend our deepest congratulations to Columbus and commend the city on its devotion to empowering smart citizens in aim of growing a smarter city. By providing a foundation for the strong formation of networks among people, goods, services, and activities, Columbus’ sustainable, integrated transportation vision epitomizes how smart mobility can build a Smart City.
In his pitch, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther put forth the question: “How do we harness and leverage technology and innovation to improve the quality of life of our residents?”
TransitScreen believes putting people first in the design of technology is how you end up with technology that improves quality of life. We constantly strive to achieve more equitable and accessible, including our recent efforts to make our digital displays more accessible to blind and low-vision users, as well as in the proliferation of our screens across civic buildings.
Congratulations again, #SmartColumbus! As curators of the Smart Mobility Ecosystem, we see a natural fit for TransitScreen as you piece together your Smart City vision. We’ll be in touch.