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Jordan Davis

Director, Smart Columbus

Jordan Davis
You could say building community is part of Jordan Davis’ DNA. Her grandfather was a longtime mayor in central Ohio. Her mother heads up a local chamber of commerce.

“It feels very right for me to be doing this,” said Davis, the director of the Smart Columbus program with the Columbus Partnership.

Davis has been one of the leaders behind an effort to reimagine transportation in central Ohio. This transformation takes the form of increasing the use of public transit, reducing traffic congestion, increasing the adoption of electric vehicles and generally providing more options for getting around the region. In 2016, Columbus was awarded a $40 million U.S. Department of Transportation Challenge grant to create a smart transportation system. The grant was met by millions more dollars in private and nonprofit investment and helped launch the Columbus Partnership

Building community means meeting residents and workers where they are, and crafting approaches to not only make their lives better, but also to reposition the region as a more sustainable and viable place to attract and retain residents. Some of those challenges to take on include climate change, equity, transportation and affordable housing.

Smart Columbus has led the way in developing programs to make it easier to buy an electric car, accelerated the use of shared mobility to make work commutes easier and worked with disadvantaged communities to solve their transportation hurdles.

“These are real problems people are facing every day. Can we think of totally radical, different ways to solve those problems? That to me is what is so compelling and exciting about being in the smart city space, and in particular, in Columbus,” said Davis.

“I hope that everything we’re doing in Columbus is contributing to all cities moving forward,” she added. 
Skip Descant writes about smart cities, the Internet of Things, transportation and other areas. He spent more than 12 years reporting for daily newspapers in Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and California. He lives in downtown Yreka, Calif.