Columbus, Ohio is on its way to becoming one of the most advanced cities in the United States. On June 23rd, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that the city edged out the other six finalists—Austin, Denver, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Portland, & San Francisco—to become America’s first “Smart City” and winner of the DoT’s Smart City Challenge.
Their prize? In addition to the $90 million the city already raised through private sources, Columbus is set to receive a $40 million federal grant from the DoT and $10 million from Vulcan Inc. (a firm run by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen) for a grand total of up to $140 million available to improve the city’s infrastructure and transportation network.
The question is no longer a matter of “if” smart city
technology will be widely accepted, but a matter of “when”.
The winning proposal included solutions that 1) provide citizens with greater access to jobs, 2) incorporate smart logistics, 3) connect its visitors to real-time transportation options, 4) connect its citizens to necessary services, and 5) provide sustainable transportation mainly through encouraging the use of more electric vehicles in the city.
All of these combined aim to shrink the growing income gap between the rich and the poor, integrate a mass-transit system into the city, and in certain areas, provide citizens with access to the necessary health care they need. For example, in one area, the infant mortality rate is four times the national rate, thus this transportation network will provide those in lower-income areas access to healthcare services and other necessities.
Many groups are hoping that Columbus will be a blueprint of what many smart cities of the future will look like. According to Mayor Andrew Ginther, "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." The question is no longer a matter of “if” smart city technology will be widely accepted, but a matter of “when”.
Columbus, Ohio stands at the forefront of innovation, and Security 101 - Columbus is going to be there every step of the way.