Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

US DoT launches $40m smart city challenge

Steve Rogerson
December 10, 2015
 
US transportation secretary Anthony Foxx has announced a smart city challenge to create a fully integrated, first-of-its-kind city that uses data, technology and creativity to shape how people and goods move in the future. The winning city will be awarded up to $40m from the US Department of Transport to implement bold, data-driven ideas by making transportation safer, easier and more reliable.
 
Additionally, Paul Allen’s Vulcan company has announced its intent to award up to $10m to the winner, but the winning city will need to work with Vulcan to secure this funding.
 
The challenge builds on the DoT’s Beyond Trafficdraft report issued in February 2015. This reveals that the nation’s aging infrastructure is not equipped to deal with a dramatically growing population in new regions throughout the country and the need for increased mobility options in developing mega-regions.
 
This public-private collaboration represents the DoT and Vulcan’s joint belief that creativity and innovation will be essential to meeting the significant transportation challenges of the future. Lessons learned from this competition will be used in other cities to improve networks nationwide and demonstrate a practical path to replacing carbon-based fuel consumption.
 
“This is an opportunity for the winning city to define what it means to be a smart city when it comes to transportation,” said Foxx. “We encourage cities to develop their own unique vision, partnerships and blueprints to demonstrate to the world what a fully integrated, forward-looking transportation network looks like. America can remain the global leader in maintaining the safest, most efficient system in the world: I am looking for mayors who share that belief to join us in pushing the boundaries of what is possible.”
 
Cities have been invited to submit a high-level description of their vision of a smart city by February 4, 2016. The DoT will announce five finalists in March 2016, who will then compete for up to $40m to be awarded to one city in June 2016. The challengewill allow the selected city to demonstrate how advanced data, technologies and applications can be used to reduce congestion, keep travellers safe, protect the environment, respond to climate change, and support economic vitality.
 
The DoT is looking for mid-sized cities with a population between approximately 200,000 and 850,000 people within city limits as of the 2010 Census.
 
“Transformative innovation takes ambitious support from both the government and the private sector,” said Vulcan president and chief operating officer Barbara Bennett. “That’s why we’re partnering with the DoT to inspire innovative, scalable, proof-of-concept solutions to address some of our planet’s most urgent challenges. We hope that together we can spur change by demonstrating what is possible through replicable models.”
 
Applicants are invited to submit ideas – designed to address or enhance community needs – across a range of innovation and data-driven platforms. Critical system improvements that increase safety, reduce carbon emissions and enhance mobility are especially encouraged for review. Specifically, these innovations will connect people, vehicles, public transportation and infrastructure through ITS, sharing economy and other technologies that improve the way Americans move, whether it be to drop off kids at school, pick up their groceries, get to work and receive critical services.