Linden Neighborhood Conversation

Melanie Crabill
Director of Media Relations
[email protected]

Kevin Kilbane
Director of Communications
[email protected]


Melanie Crabill (614) 645-5300
[email protected]

News Date: February 10, 2016

Columbus Among Cities Nationally Vying in “Smart Cities Challenge”

The City of Columbus is among medium-sized cities from across the country that has submitted an application to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Smart Cities Challenge.”  The first of its kind competition seeks to create an innovative, fully-integrated model city that uses data, technology and creativity to shape how people and goods are transported in the future.  If chosen as the winner of the “Smart Cities Challenge,” Columbus would become the nation’s epicenter of advanced vehicle and transportation infrastructure research and development. 

“Improving access to jobs, the efficient movement of goods and increased access to services is critical to the sustained growth and prosperity of the Columbus region,” said Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. “Columbus neighborhoods, new Americans, disadvantaged residents and visitors to the region will all benefit from a smarter, safer and more accessible community.”

The winning city, which will be announced in June, will be awarded up to $40 million from the federal government to implement bold, data-driven ideas that make transportation safer, easier, and more reliable.  Additionally, Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc., has announced its intent to award up to $10 million to the challenge winner to support electric vehicle deployment and other carbon emission reduction strategies, and Mobileye announced that it would outfit the entire fleet of the winning city's public bus system with its Shield +TM driver-assistance safety technology.

The City of Columbus’ application proposes a Smart City Program Office, representing a partnership between Columbus, Central Ohio Transit Authority, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, Ohio Department of Transportation, The Ohio State University, and private sector partners, which would address community challenges through five inter-related strategies:

1)      ACCESS TO JOBS.  Columbus has several major employment centers; however, some workers do not have reasonable access to these jobs.  Columbus proposes an autonomous vehicle pilot deployment in Easton to provide last mile connectivity from the Easton Transit Center to area employers, as well as enhanced traveler information, broadband connectivity, and smart intersections along the new CMAX Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Corridor from Polaris to Downtown.

2)      SMART LOGISTICS. The Rickenbacker Inland Port is a high-speed international, multimodal logistics hub, has one of the world’s only cargo-dedicated airports, and boasts the 7th most active foreign trade zone in the United States.  Columbus proposes making accessible real time traffic condition and routing data in a smartphone app for trucks to the movement and delivery of freight. 

3)      CONNECTED VISITORS. Visitors to the Columbus Region spend $5.7 billion each year, provide an overall economic impact of $8.7 billion, and support over 71,000 jobs.  Columbus proposes to develop a smartphone app with Experience Columbus that can be customized to specific events to provide real-time information related to traffic, parking, and transit options.

4)      CONNECTED CITIZENS. Columbus has select neighborhoods with mobility challenges that limit citizen access to jobs, health care, and education services.  Columbus proposes to examine mobility challenges in the Linden neighborhood to further build ladders of opportunity for residents by increasing personal transit service offerings (e.g. Uber, Car2Go), and helping cash-based and/or credit-challenged citizens access these services.

5)      SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORTATION.  We will work to expand the recently completed Smart Grid project to other parts of the city, expand electric vehicle charging infrastructure, pursue continued conversion of the Columbus fleet to compressed natural gas (CNG), explore converting more of the city fleet to electric vehicles (EVs), and investigate additional ways through incentives or policy changes to encourage more EVs in the city.  

The Columbus application has received broad, bi-partisan support from more than 100 public agencies, elected officials, suburban communities, non-profits, social services, economic development entities, and a range of private sector companies.  For more information on the city’s application, please click here.