Smart City Challenge- City of Columbus

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Smart Columbus
Smart City Challenge - City of Columbus
General information
From Jun 2016 to N/D Ongoing
Project Coordinator
VRA, the network of automation

The city of Columbus won the Smart City Challenge in Jun after competing against 78 cities nationwide. The Smart city Challenge is a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to encourage mid-size cities to create innovative solutions for the future of urban mobility.


  • Access to Jobs: Smart Columbus proposes autonomous vehicle deployment to address first mile/last mile challenges from the Easton Transit Center to Easton employers. The city will also provide enhanced traveler information, broadband connectivity, and build smart intersections along the new CMAX Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Corridor from Polaris to Downtown.
  • Smart Logistics: the city will build a global logistics hub by optimizing the movement and delivery of freight through real time traffic, weather, and routing data for trucks.
  • Connected Visitors: Visitors to the Columbus Region provide an overall economic impact of $8.7 billion and support over 71,000 jobs. Consistent feedback received from visitors is about transit and parking. The city will work with Experience Columbus to provide real-time event, transit, traffic, and parking information to visitors and residents.
  • Connected Citizens: Implementing a smart pass to enable all citizens to have access and be able pay for all the transportation options in the city with a smartphone or pass. #SmartColumbus will improve access to pre-natal care and provide the ladders of opportunity to the residents to address the challenging the social and economic conditions in their community.
  • Sustainable Transportation: #SmartColumbus will make investments, programs, and creative incentives for energy efficiency, transportation electrification, and greenhouse gas reduction that is environmentally and financially sustainable. Columbus will begin to electrify its light duty vehicle fleet and work with Columbus businesses to do the same. More public charging stations will be built to reduce range anxiety and accommodate those households without garages/ability to charge at home and encourage businesses to build more as well for their employees.


The steps taken by the city since it was awarded:

  • Created a Program Management Office in the City of Columbus Department of Public Service.
  • Conducted a public procurement process and hired a team of consultants to assist with delivery of technical work associated with the US DOT grant.
  • Facilitated a number of technical workshops with US DOT and Vulcan, to understand the expectations, establish roles, discuss strategy and reporting requirements.
  • Updated to reflect current information regarding the grant and benefits to residents, including the sustainable transit system.
  • The city of Columbus will collaborate with other cities such as Austin, Denver, Kansas City, Pittsburg, Portland or San Francisco to share best practices to help replicate success.
  • Public roll-out of various Smart Columbus pilot projects will begin in 2017.


Smart Columbus Committed Partners [2]

  • Franklin County
  • AEP
  • The OHIO State university
  • Columbus Partnership
  • Ohio Department of Trnapsortation
  • Battelle
  • Greater Columbus Arts Council
  • Columbus Experience
  • Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commisiion
  • Honda
  • Here Inc
  • Peloton
  • Sparc
  • Mass Factory
  • Inrix
  • Econolite
  • Fleetcarma
  • Here
  • Central Ohio Transit Authority

US DOT Smart City Partners [3]

  • Vulcan
  • Amazon Web Services
  • AT&T
  • Mobileye
  • US Department of Energy
  • Continental


Awarded $19 million by the US DOT Additional $10 million grant from Vulcan which will be directed towards promoting electric vehicles and building related infrastructure.

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