US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced that 77 cities submitted applications for the first-of-its-kind US Department of Transportation (USDOT) Smart City Challenge. (Earlier post.) Medium-sized cities from across the country from Reno to Rochester and Anchorage to Albuquerque represent the depth and breadth of this challenge. The competition seeks to create an innovative, fully integrated model city that uses data, technology, and creativity to shape how people and goods move in the future.
The USDOT will award the winning city up to $40 million to implement bold, data-driven ideas that make transportation safer, easier, and more reliable. Additionally, Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc. intends to award up to $10 million to the challenge winner to support electric vehicle deployment and other carbon emission reduction strategies, and Mobileye announced that it would outfit the entire fleet of the winning city’s public bus system with its Shield+ driver-assistance safety technology.
Applicants from cities across the country were asked to include a range of innovations and data-driven platforms to anticipate and address community needs. Specifically, the USDOT is looking at how to integrate multiple innovations such as automated vehicles, the sharing economy, and other technologies into a network that connects people to their intelligent transportation system.
The USDOT invited cities to submit a high-level description of their vision by 4 February 2016, and supported prospective applicants with numerous forums, webinars, and other resources. Five finalists will be announced at SXSW in Austin on 12 March. These finalists will each receive $100,000 to hone their proposals and develop applications for the final selection process scheduled for June 2016. Vulcan will work with the USDOT to assist the five finalist cities with technical guidance and other support in keeping with its commitment to leverage technology, investments, and philanthropy to drive a low-carbon future.