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Columbus Outsmarts Competition to Win Grant

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City of Columbus II

The city of Columbus earned a $40 million grant as the winner of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge
Photo: Rod Berry/Ohio Stock Photography

Launched by the US Department of Transportation in 2015, the Smart City Challenge asked mid-sized cities across the US for help, ideas and a plan for “an integrated, first-of-its-kind smart transportation system that would use data, applications and technology to help people and goods move more quickly, cheaply and efficiently.”

Out of 78 competitors, the city of Columbus, Ohio, won the challenge and earned $40 million dollars.

In addition to the grant from the US Department of Transportation, Columbus also garnered a $10 million grant from Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc. Foundation. According to, this grant is designed “to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the de-carbonization of the electric supply and transportation sectors.”

With funding from both of these grants, the city of Columbus hopes to realize its five-point vision of: increased access to employment opportunities for its residents; enhanced truck transport through real-time traffic, routing, and weather data communications; resident and visitor access to real-time transit, traffic, event, and parking information; resident access to transportation choices via a pass or smartphone; and the development of sustainable transportation through the investment in programs and incentives that champion a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, electrification of transportation, and higher energy efficiency.

To build a more sustainable transportation system, the city of Columbus will construct more public charging stations and push for businesses to provide their employees a connection to more stations. The city’s light-duty vehicle fleet will begin to be electrified, and the city hopes to work with other Columbus businesses to electrify its own fleets.

The city of Columbus is dedicated to achieving its goal to “become the nation’s epicenter for intelligent transportation systems research to improve safety, enhance mobility, create ladders of opportunity for those who may have been left behind in the past, and address climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

News Source: The City of Columbus, US Department of Transportation