The U.S. DOT named seven finalists: Austin, Columbus, Denver, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Portland, and San Francisco. The seven finalists dreamed big: they planned to implement autonomous shuttles to move city residents, to electrify city fleets, and to collectively equip over thirteen thousand buses, taxis, and cars with vehicle-to-vehicle Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) technology. Over a three month period, these finalists worked closely with the Department, their residents, and each other to develop detailed plans to put their Smart City visions into action. Each received $100,000 for public outreach, the production of pitch videos, and intensive technical assistance from Federal experts and private partners to further concept development. Through this process, the finalists refined their vision for what a smart city could be:
- Smart cities are improving how we move by supporting more affordable and sustainable mobility choices, improving the quality and reliability of transit services, enhancing pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, and making better use of the space allocated to parking.
- Smart cities promote the efficiency, reliability and safety of how we move things through traffic signals that prioritize freight movements, apps that provide truckers with information about routes and parking, automated low speed freight delivery systems that enable the consolidation of deliveries, and automated trucks.
- Smart cities are taking the lead in how we adapt to climate change by installing electric vehicle infrastructure, converting public fleets and buses to electric vehicles, incentivizing shared-use mobility options, and closely monitoring air pollution to identify and address emissions hotspots.
- Advances in technology are allowing cities to collect, analyze, and apply data to discover how we move better.
- Smart cities are taking steps to ensure that new technologies grow opportunity for all by connecting underserved communities to job centers through affordable, reliable transportation options and by bridging the digital divide.
- To enhance the capabilities of the public to understand transportation challenges and implement innovative solutions, cities are looking to develop new integrated data platforms to make better decisions and align decisions and dollars.
The Challenge: In the early 1960s, the I-35 highway was built through the low-income neighborhoods, dividing the city into West and East Austin. The region’s racial divides have become increasingly acute for its minority populations, which struggle with higher poverty rates, more isolated neighborhoods, lower educational attainment, and lower employment levels.
The Goal: Connect underserved communities to economic opportunities and reduce the spread of poverty.
The Strategy: Austin will create a Mobility Marketplace that will improve access to mobility services for unbanked users, older Americans, and those with disabilities. Multi-lingual Smart Ambassadors will partner with community organizations to demonstrate new technologies and mobility services and engage with citizens in underserved communities to understand their needs.
The Challenge: Each year in Franklin County, 150 babies die before their first birthday. And, twice as many African-American babies are likely to die as white children. In Columbus, these deaths are concentrated in neighborhoods in which there are lower levels of income, education and health. One neighborhood loses four times as many babies as in the neighborhood next door.
The Goal: Reduce infant mortality by 40 percent and to cut the health disparity gap in half by 2020.
The Solution: Columbus will leverage a new central connected traffic signal and integrated transportation data system to develop a suite of applications to deliver enhanced human services to residents and visitors. The City plans to integrate an electronic appointments and scheduling platform for doctor visits with transit tracking so that rescheduling is automated and expecting mothers need not wait weeks to reschedule appointments. These applications include a multi-modal trip planning application, a common payment system for all transportation modes, a smartphone application for assistance to persons with disabilities, and integration of travel options at key locations for visitors. Columbus will establish a smart corridor connecting underserved neighborhoods to jobs and services. The smart corridor will enhance Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service by installing smart traffic signals, smart street lighting, traveler information and payment kiosks, and free public Wi-Fi along the route. Six electric, accessible, autonomous vehicles will be deployed to expand the reach of the BRT system to additional retail and employment centers.
The Challenge: The health of Denver’s economy is closely connected to efficient freight movements, yet growing populations along key freight corridors are creating congestion and reducing reliability, while the air pollution and noise caused by freight traffic disproportionately impact underserved communities.
The Goal: Make freight delivery more reliable and reduce air pollution, idling, and engine noise.
The Solution: Establish a connected freight efficiency corridor with comprehensive freight parking and traffic information systems, freight signal prioritization, designated parking and staging areas.
The Challenge: Despite advances in transportation technology and urban planning, we still lack basic data on how cities work and how infrastructure affects the everyday lives of our citizens.
The Goal: Advance our understanding of urban travel and quality of life to inform the transportation decisions of citizens and public officials.
The Strategy: Make the urban core a more ‘Quantified Community,’ by collecting and analyzing data on:
- Travel flows
- Traffic crashes
- Energy usage
- Air pollution
- Residents’ health and physical activity
Make these data available through an open data architecture, to allow for unprecedented studies in transportation engineering, urban systems operation, planning, and the social sciences, promote entrepreneurship and empower citizens.
The Challenge: Pittsburgh has one of the highest air pollution levels in the country, and poor air quality is well known to cause serious health and social impacts.
The Goal: Jump-start electric conversion to reduce transportation emissions by 50% by 2030. Through demonstration projects in street lighting, electric vehicles, and power generation.
- Convert up to 40,000 streetlights to LEDs to reduce energy use
- Establish smart street lights with sensors to monitor local air quality
- Install electric vehicle charging stations
- Convert the city’s public fleet to electric vehicles
The Challenge: People in underserved communities are at a higher risk of missing out on new technological advances; these citizens may lack access to new tools, and more significantly, their needs and issues may not feed into the data collection and study that guides development of those tools.
The Goal: Ensure that all communities have access new transportation options and improved methods for making informed transportation choices.
The Strategy: Make community members a part of the development and implementation of Smart City technologies from beginning to end through a public education campaign and a smart city video contest.
Establish partnerships with community organizations to ensure that low-income, disabled, older, minority, and immigrant residents have a voice.
Engage with residents through walking and van tours, “pop ups”, idea walls, supper chats and youth-led canvas initiatives.
The Challenge: As the search for affordable housing continues to push people commuting into San Francisco further from the city, the roads into downtown experience ever growing congestion.
The Goal: Grow the number of regional commuters that use carpooling to improve affordability, increase mobility and relieve congestion on roads and transit.
- Create connected regional carpool lanes and designate curb space for carpool pick-up/drop-off
- Make carpooling easy by developing a smartphone app for instant carpool matching and establish carpool pickup plazas for riders without smart phones
- Use connected infrastructure to monitor and optimize the performance of carpool lanes