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Smart City in the Heartland

Columbus smart city
Columbus smart city
For the past year, the US DOT prepared and promoted it’s US$40 million Smart City Challenge. Last week, they announced the winner. Beating out heavyweights like San Francisco, Austin and Denver, Columbus, Ohio won the grant, which came to US$50 million, with Vulcan‘s US$10 million contribution. Now, the plan is to turn the city into a...

By Mitchell Reardon

Date

July 4, 2016

For the past year, the US DOT prepared and promoted it’s US$40 million Smart City Challenge. Last week, they announced the winner. Beating out heavyweights like San Francisco, Austin and Denver, Columbus, Ohio won the grant, which came to US$50 million, with Vulcan‘s US$10 million contribution. Now, the plan is to turn the city into a living laboratory to create a series of transferable mobility best practices. Notably, Columbus’ plan focuses largely on wellbeing, safety and equity, rather than surveillance on every street corner and self-driving cars in every garage. It includes targeted interventions to improve connections to under-served and marginalized neighbourhoods, as well as plans to reduce traffic collisions, including new technology for buses. The winning proposal also includes platooning technology for freight traffic and agreements with a range of private partners to implement EV charging stations. It’s the partnerships with private partners that may have put Columbus ahead of its rivals. In addition to the US$50 million awarded through the Smart City Challenge, the city secured an additional US$90 million from private partners including Amazon, Lyft and AT&T, among others. This partnership model might be the first “best practice” to emerge from Columbus. Is this high tech partnership in America’s heartland a template on which the smart city will be built?

 

 

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