The U.S. Department of Transportation launched a Smart City Challenge in 2015, which asked mid-sized cities across the country to come up with ideas for novel smart transportation systems that would use data and tech to improve mobility. Out of 78 applicants, Columbus, Ohio, emerged as the winner.
In 2016, the city of just under a million residents was then awarded a $50 million grant to turn its proposal into a reality. $40 million came from the DOT, and $10 million from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.
In mid-June, the program ended, but Columbus said the city would continue to work as a “collaborative innovation lab,” using city funds to integrate technology to address societal problems. But what does that mean in reality?