Columbus, Ohio, Wins U.S. DOT’s Smart City Challenge

June 30, 2016 | Comments

In December 2015, a challenge was issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. The objective was to become the first city in the country to integrate technologies such as self-driving cars, connected vehicles and smart sensors into its transportation network. The prize was $40 million in funding, subject to future appropriations, to carry out the city’s vision. A total of 78 cities responded with vision statements and applications.

City of Columbus, Ohio with the new Rich Street Bridge in the foreground.

One of the seven finalists, Columbus, Ohio, has been announced as the winner of the Smart City Challenge.

Then in March, the field was narrowed to seven cities: San Francisco, Calif.; Kansas City, Mo.; Austin, Tex.; Denver, Colo.; Portland, Ore.; and Pittsburgh, Pa.Each of the finalist cities was given a $100,000 grant to further develop its plans. The finalists were also connected to challenge sponsors that could aid in the process of developing their detailed proposals. These sponsors included Mobileye, Autodesk and NXP.

Each of the finalists had great ideas, and each deserved to win the top prize. Autodesk was heavily involved with the teams as they tried to convey their vision for their cities. Autodesk’s InfraWorks 360 was a tremendous tool at the disposal of the teams, and visualizations from InfraWorks 360 were included in most of the pitch videos. InfraWorks 360 gives civil engineers, city planners and other team members a graphic-rich environment to go from concept to analysis and refinement to proposal, all in one application. The visuals that came from InfraWorks 360 went a long way in conveying the visions of the finalists.

Here’s a look at Columbus’ pitch:

In June, Columbus was declared the winner of the top prize. The city is well on its way to creating the United States’ first smart city. However, based on the number of cities responding to this challenge, it is clear that Columbus is not the only city striving to integrate these technologies into its transportation network. As the adoption and implementation of these technologies grow, it will not be long before they make their way to even the smallest of towns.

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