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USDOT: Columbus wins 'Smart City Challenge'


The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced yesterday that Columbus, Ohio, has been selected as the winner of the department's "Smart City Challenge," which will result in the city receiving millions of federal dollars to reshape its transportation system.

As the winner, Columbus will receive up to $40 million from the USDOT and up to $10 million from Paul G. Allen's Vulcan Inc. to supplement the $90 million that the city has already raised from other private partners to carry out its plan, according to a USDOT press release.

Using those resources, Columbus will work to reshape its transportation system by using data, technology and creativity "to reimagine how people and goods" move through the city, department officials said.

In the Smart City Challenge, the USDOT pledged to issue up to $40 million to one city to help it become the first to integrate innovative technologies into the city's transportation plan.

In March, the department announced seven finalist cities. In addition to Columbus, they were Austin, Texas; Denver; Kansas City, Mo.; Pittsburgh; Portland, Ore.; and San Francisco.

Each finalist proposed "thoughtful, intelligent, and innovative ideas that defined a vision for the future of the American city and formed a blueprint to show the world what a fully integrated, forward-looking transportation network looks like," U.S. Transportation Anthony Foxx said in a prepared statement.

"The bold initiatives they proposed demonstrated that the future of transportation is not just about using technology to make our systems safer and more efficient – it's about using these advanced tools to make life better for all people, especially those living in underserved communities," said Foxx.

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther attributed the city's selection in part to its collaboration between public, private and nonprofit sectors.

"Smart Columbus will deliver an unprecedented multimodal transportation system that will not only benefit the people of central Ohio, but potentially all mid-sized cities," said Ginther.