78 "Smart Cities" Competing for ≤$40M from DOT

From sensor-based infrastructure and a smart grid to user-focused services and low-cost information and communications technologies, the winning Smart City hits all of DOT's 12 high points.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Department of Transportation (DOT) has accepted 78 applications in the Smart City Challenge. Five finalist cities will be shortlisted this month, and then invited to submit implementation plans for their proposed solutions before a winner is selected.

The winning city's solution and implementation plan will be based on their technical merits as they align with DOT's 12 vision elements related to technology, innovation in urban transportation, and smart cities. The winning city must use data, technologies, applications, and strategies to reduce congestion, improve safety, and safeguard the environment. The winning city must also consider climate change factors and be sure to bring underserved communities into its public transit fold.

While DOT still operates under a 20th-century model--by its own admission--it has put some resources behind thinking about how U.S. transportation systems can be better in it's 2015 framework Beyond Traffic 2045.

"Beyond Traffic is intended to open a national dialogue about what our country really needs and why we need it. It is a draft survey of major forces impacting transportation and a discussion of potential solutions that can be adopted to address those forces. We hope it prompts a long overdue national conversation," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in the report's opening letter.

In order to have entered the Smart City Challenge, a city must have a population between 200,000 and 850,000 as of the 2010 census, 15 percent of its population categorized as dense urban, and an existing public transit system. The winner, to be announced in June, will receive $15 million in FY 16, and then $15 million in FY 17 and $10 million in FY 18 if the funds are appropriated.

Review a list of the Smart City Challenge applicants.

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