At challenge’s conclusion, Smart Columbus to continue its work
- With its federal grant funding period now over, the Smart Columbus organization in Columbus, Ohio, announced Tuesday it will continue its work as a “collaborative innovation lab” to use technology to address societal problems in the region.
- Now, the city of Columbus will sustain several of the group’s initiatives that had been pioneered after winning the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) inaugural Smart City Challenge. The projects slated to continue are multimodal trip-planning app Pivot; parking payment app ParkColumbus; smart mobility hubs; the connected vehicle environment; and the Smart Columbus operating system.
- Officials said Smart Columbus will now focus on ways technology can help benefit the region, including through mobility, sustainability and digitalization. Research from Ohio State University found the implementation of USDOT’s grant funding generated an estimated gross metropolitan product (GMP) of $173.39 million and generated or induced 2,366 jobs in the city and its surrounding area.
Columbus turned heads in 2016 when it beat out more than 70 othercities to win the challenge. In the years since, it has used the $50 million from the federal government and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation — in addition to $19 million in cost-sharing from the city, state and county — for a wide variety of initiatives and pilot programs. Those have included autonomous shuttles as well as smart mobility hubs, which feature interactive kiosks, pick-up and drop-off points for ride-hailing vehicles and parking for bikes, scooters and more.
Smart Columbus also has pushed locals to adopt electric vehicles, led the charge on corporate decarbonization through its Smart Columbus Energy nonprofit and looked to educate visitors and residents about the future of the city at its Smart Columbus Experience Center.
Mandy Bishop, Smart Columbus program manager for the city of Columbus, said the city was ideally positioned to take advantage of the USDOT grant funding and put effective initiatives in place.