THE VISION: To empower our residents to live their best lives through responsive, innovative and safe mobility solutions.

U.S. Department of Transportation Grant

The Goal

To demonstrate how an intelligent transportation system and equitable access to transportation can have positive impacts on everyday challenges faced by cities.

The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) pledged $40 million to Columbus as the winner of the Smart City Challenge. By challenging American cities to use emerging transportation technologies to address their most pressing problems, USDOT aimed to spread innovation through a mixture of competition, collaboration and experimentation. The Challenge called on midsize cities to do more than merely introduce new technologies onto city streets. It called on 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.

As the winner of the Smart City Challenge, Columbus seeks to demonstrate and evaluate a holistic approach to improving surface transportation performance; and where feasible, integrate this approach with other city domains such as public safety, public services and energy. Columbus intends to address how emerging transportation as well as data, technologies and applications can be integrated with existing and new systems to address transportation challenges. Columbus will help define what it means to be a “Smart City” and become the country’s first to fully integrate a breadth of innovative technologies including intelligent transportation systems, connected vehicles, automated vehicles, a Smart Columbus Operating System and other advanced technologies into the transportation network.

Projects funded by the USDOT grant fall within three categories:

Enabling Technologies

These technologies leverage today’s foundation in new and innovative ways to greatly enhance the safety and mobility of the transportation infrastructure. Projects include:

Enhanced Human Services

These services encompass meeting human needs through the application of technology that focuses on prevention as well as remediation of problems and maintain a commitment to improving the overall quality of life of users of the technology-based solutions. Opportunity will be created through these projects which seek to improve access to jobs, healthcare and events. Projects include:

Emerging Technologies

New technologies that are currently developing or will be developed over the next five to ten years will substantially alter the business and social environment. By focusing on key Emerging Technologies, the City will be able to exhibit potential solutions to address and mitigate future transportation and data collection challenges. Projects include:

Smart Columbus Operating System

At the center of the portfolio of projects is the Smart Columbus Operating System, an integrated, holistic integrated data exchange where data is collected, aggregated, published and used to power these solutions. The operating system serves as the data “backbone” for the projects, serving to collect and transmit data about the projects, and to capture performance data reported to the USDOT and the public.

Columbus will serve as an example for cities looking to pursue similar efforts. The City plans to work closely with residents, community and business leaders and technical experts to implement an innovative Smart City demonstration. In doing so, Columbus will act as a laboratory for smart city technologies, providing information and documentation regarding the planning, design, implementation and operation of the various program components. The City will document the program’s successes and lessons learned, which other cities can use as a roadmap for their evaluation, planning and execution of similar efforts.

The program includes a robust outreach component to achieve this communication and messaging. To enable this, Smart Columbus is combining the $40 million from USDOT, $10 million from Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and monies raised from partners to create a transportation network to improve safety, enhance mobility, build ladders of opportunity and accelerate the transition to a clean transportation system.

The USDOT and the City of Columbus signed the Columbus Cooperative Award DTFH6116H00013 outlining the USDOT and Columbus commitments on August 30, 2016.

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Learn about the Smart Columbus Operating System

The Smart Columbus Operating System is the backbone of all the USDOT-funded projects.

Learn about our Mobility Assistance Project

Our Mobility Assistance for People with Cognitive Disabilities project was the first USDOT project to launch in May 2019.

Coming soon!

Smart Columbus will launch a first-of-its-kind trip planning app in 2019.