Smart City Challenge

Smart city challenge

The Smart City Challenge is an initiative of the US Department of Transportation. There is up to $40 million available in funding that will go to one mid-sized city that puts forward bold, data-driven ideas to improve lives by making transportation safer, easier, and more reliable.

Additionally, the Smart City Challenge would like to highlight the role of public-private partnerships in addressing our transportation challenges. Therefore they partner with Vulcan Philanthropy for this competition, they are offering up to an additional $10 million of funding to the winning city to support the deployment of autonomous vehicles and carbon emission reduction strategies like electric cars.

Ideally, the winning city will view Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), connected vehicles, and (semi)-autonomous vehicles as the next logical step in its existing, robust transportation infrastructure. It should also aim to have critical systems in vehicles and infrastructure that communicate with each other, allow for active citizen participation, and integrate new concepts that leverage the sharing economy.

Ideal characteristics of a Smart City Challenge candidate:

  • Mid-sized city with a population between approximately 200,000 and 850,000 people within city limits as of the 2010 Census;
  • A population density typical of a mid-sized city using 2010 Census data;
  • Represents a significant portion (more than 15%) of the overall population of its urban area using 2010 Census data;
  • An established public transportation system;
  • An environment that is conducive to demonstrating proposed strategies; and
  • Leadership and capacity to carry out the demonstration throughout the period of performance.

The Government will evaluate applications based on the following technical merit criteria:

  • Degree that the proposed city and demonstration site align with the USDOT’s Desired Characteristics, relevant to: (i) population size, (ii) population density, (iii) population share of urbanized area; (iv) an existing public transportation system, (v) environment conducive to demonstrating proposed strategies; and (vi) continuity of committed leadership and capacity to carry out the demonstration throughout the period of performance, (vii) commitment to integrating with the sharing economy; and (viii) commitment to making open, machine-readable data accessible, discoverable and usable by the public to fuel entrepreneurship and innovation.
  • Demonstration of a sound, innovative, integrated, and holistic vision of the Applicant’s Smart City program consistent with the USDOT’s goals and twelve vision elements as defined in Section A.
  • Extent that the Applicant’s vision and goals address issues identified in Beyond Traffic 2045.
  • Likelihood of success in implementing the demonstration, including commitment from public and private sectors, and technical capability to perform.

For more information, visit US Department of Transportation.