Smart city solutions are designed to solve a host of issues common in urban areas across the U.S. From intelligent streetlights that monitor traffic from pedestrians, bicycles, cars and more to sensors that monitor air quality, smart city front runners are using IT to make their communities more efficient and improve quality of life for residents.
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The following cities got a boost on their path to becoming future-ready when they were named finalists in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart Cities Challenge. Of 78 applicants representing 85 cities in 36 states, the following seven cities received $100,000 as well as public- and private-sector consulting help to further develop their pitches. The ultimate victor (and recipient of $100 million in implementation money) was Columbus, Ohio, though all participants found value in refining their plans by participating in the challenge.
Austin, Texas, proposed a Mobility Marketplace to help connect underserved communities, like those without traditional bank accounts, the disabled and the elderly, to economic opportunity through improved mobility.
Columbus, Ohio, set out to enhance equal access to health-care services and cut infant mortality rates, especially in communities of color, with a centralized traffic signal and transportation data system that offers multimodal trip planning and a single payment system, and integrates with doctor visit scheduling.
Denver sought to mitigate negative impacts of freight movement, especially on underserved communities, by establishing a connected corridor for freight with connected parking and traffic information systems, which reduced pollution, congestion and engine noise in adjacent communities.
Kansas City, Mo., wanted help to quantify and analyze data related to urban travel and quality of life, including traffic movements, accident data, air pollution and resident health.
Pittsburgh aimed to take on high air pollution levels through a series of emission-cutting efforts, like converting the city’s vehicle fleet to electric, adding charging stations, converting streetlights to LED and using sensors to monitor air quality.
Portland, Ore., planned an aggressive outreach campaign to engage underserved communities in the development of new, smart transportation options that serve all residents’ needs.
San Francisco, acknowledging that housing costs are lengthening commutes into the city, wanted to invest in tools to support carpooling like dedicated lanes and curb space, and an app to connect carpoolers needing rides.