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Columbus: Smart Cities

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Via the Dispatch:

 

Today, at a 4:45 p.m. press conference, Mayor Andrew J. Ginther and the Columbus Partnership are expected to disclose that as part of the city’s application for the Smart Cities grant, that “$90 million of commitments of matching resources and funds” have been collected, said Alex Fischer, president of the Columbus Partnership, a coalition of business executives from many of central Ohio’s largest employers

 

I don't think it will happen for Columbus (other finalists are Austin, Denver, KC, Pittsburgh, Portland, and SF) but the city is a finalist nonetheless.  Hopefully the $90m pledged will go towards actual public transit in the city.

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I'm still on the fence about this Smart City Challenge (it seems to be looking at auto-oriented solutions) - but Honda appears to be on-board with the Columbus proposal in the competition:

 


Columbus' Smart City Challenge bid gets Honda pledge of cars and brainpower

By Dan Eaton, Staff reporter - Columbus Business First

Updated: June 7, 2016, 11:44am EDT

 

If Columbus wins the Smart City Challenge, it’s going to need some cars.  And Honda Motor Co. is here to help.

 

The Marysville-based automaker Tuesday announced its “enthusiastic support” for Columbus' Smart City plans.  It isn’t just plaudits: Honda is prepared to supply the city with electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles for tests and will study autonomous and connected vehicles along Route 33 between Columbus and East Liberty.

 

MORE: http://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/news/2016/06/07/smart-city-challenge-bid-gets-honda-pledge-of-cars.html

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Very exciting! Especially that we beat out SF, Austin, Portland, Pittsburgh, Denver, and KC!

 

Looking forward to hearing more details on the plans and their implementation!

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The Washington Post ran this profile about the cities involved the Smart City Challenge on June 9:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/can-a-wonked-out-reality-competition-help-save-the-american-city/2016/06/08/f5f0b3d8-112f-11e6-8967-7ac733c56f12_story.html

 

In the graphic listing each city's application for the grant, here's how they explained the Columbus grant proposal:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/business/future-of-transportation/

 

THE PROBLEM

People in poor communities such as Linden have worse access to jobs, doctors and data. They’re being “left out of the great recovery,” the city says. Many don’t have the resources, or even the credit needed, to sign up for Uber or a cheaper iteration of ride-hailing.

 

BY THE NUMBERS

There are tens of thousands of unfilled jobs that company reps say people aren’t equipped to take. At the same time, tens of thousands of people have been looking for work for at least a year. Infant mortality is three times higher in Linden than in the rest of Franklin County (25.7 per 1,000 vs. 8.5 per 1,000).

 

THE IDEA

Tackle the inconveniences and impediments of daily travel by tying together neighborhoods and connecting people to higher education and health care, as well as to training and job opportunities.

 

HOW?

Run an autonomous circulator in one of Ohio’s largest job centers, Easton, which is adjacent to Linden and which proponents say would make access easier for people in both communities. Distribute a smart card and app that cover everything from bus fares to ride and car-sharing services and could be used by those who are dependent on cash. With its mix of blue-collar, white-collar and older workers, and its diversity, firms such as McDonald’s and brands such as Victoria’s Secret have seen Columbus as the “test marketing capital of the world,” the city’s mayor says. Now they want to test-market tricked-out road networks. Their slogan: “Becoming the Silicon Valley of intelligent transportation systems.”

 

“Some people say, ‘What the heck does infant mortality have to do with transportation?’ I say, ‘Everything.’...That’s a reflection of the quality of life in the neighborhood. Poverty is rampant. Violence is disproportionate.” Fixing those “social determinants of health” depends on having physical access to opportunities. – Columbus mayor Andrew J. Ginther

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Columbus beats six other cities to win $50M Smart City Challenge

 

smart-city-roundtable*750xx3164-1783-0-325.jpg

 

Columbus has won $140 million in federal and private-sector money to help kickstart new transportation methodology.

 

The victory in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge is a major coup for the city, which beat out six other cities to win $40 million in federal money and $10 million from Vulcan Inc., a company founded by Microsoft Corp. cofounder Paul Allen, sources say.

 

More below:

http://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/news/2016/06/21/breaking-columbus-beats-six-other-cities-to-win.html

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Run an autonomous circulator in one of Ohio’s largest job centers, Easton, which is adjacent to Linden and which proponents say would make access easier for people in both communities.

 

That's a stretch.

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Could this be used to kickstart a rail system?  Or does it have to be something completely new, like driverless cars?

 

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Run an autonomous circulator in one of Ohio’s largest job centers, Easton, which is adjacent to Linden and which proponents say would make access easier for people in both communities.

 

That's a stretch.

 

People are so bad at Columbus geography in general it's unbelievable.

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Run an autonomous circulator in one of Ohio’s largest job centers, Easton, which is adjacent to Linden and which proponents say would make access easier for people in both communities.

 

That's a stretch.

 

People are so bad at Columbus geography in general it's unbelievable.

 

It was an east coast paper.  I'm amazed they didn't refer to us as the capital city of Iowa!

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Could this be used to kickstart a rail system?  Or does it have to be something completely new, like driverless cars?

 

It sounds like the latter rather than the former.

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Apparently Columbus doesn't have a skyline.  They have a representation of every other city's skyline but Columbus gets, well I'm not sure... an OSU building?  Considering LeVeque was the 5th tallest building in the world when it was built, you'd think it'd hold a little clout... at least more or on par with Austin and Portland's skylines.

 

Nevertheless. pretty cool Columbus won the grant.  Hopefully it moves us from worst public transportation system out of 30 largest metros to... not worst.

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Could this be used to kickstart a rail system?  Or does it have to be something completely new, like driverless cars?

 

It sounds like the latter rather than the former.

 

It really does, but I truly hope urban mass transit is a part of this project. Autonomous automobiles might be closer than we think, however it won't solve the problem of moving large amounts of people in a dense urban environment in an environmentally-conscientious way. I recall reading that some of this grant money could go to improving and expanding the CMAX, which could lay the groundwork for eventually upgrading to rail. Here's hoping. 

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I wonder about the larger implications of this grant for a state like Ohio. For example there is funding for a moonshot project like this now, while ODOT's funding for transit is less than its grass cutting budget for the side of the roads and Cleveland's RTA is struggling and faced with cutting services. It seems somewhat frustrating on the face of things, but maybe part of the intention is to get Ohio to invest more in transit generally.

 

Autonomous (I assume this grant is talking about road-based) transit vehicles would certainly help reign in the exploding legacy costs of a transit system 20, 30, 40 years after it's implemented, but I'll believe it when I see it quite frankly.

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Could this be used to kickstart a rail system?  Or does it have to be something completely new, like driverless cars?

 

It sounds like the latter rather than the former.

 

It really does, but I truly hope urban mass transit is a part of this project. Autonomous automobiles might be closer than we think, however it won't solve the problem of moving large amounts of people in a dense urban environment in an environmentally-conscientious way. I recall reading that some of this grant money could go to improving and expanding the CMAX, which could lay the groundwork for eventually upgrading to rail. Here's hoping. 

 

Thanks for the updates.  It sounded like it was meant to be something along those lines rather than traditional rail transit--I haven't read any of the requirements, but presumably it lays out the type of thing they are thinking about.  Regardless, like you say, if this can somehow to be leveraged to help set up a starter streetcar or light rail line, that would be good. 

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A look at how Columbus-style public-private partnership helped win the Smart Cities grant from Business First:

 

Public-private partnership propelled Columbus' Smart City win

By Tom Knox, Reporter - Columbus Business First

June 22, 2016, 7:37am EDT

 

Collaboration between government and the private sector appears to have catapulted Columbus to victory in the competition for $50 million in federal transportatation grants.

 

The city beat out 77 other cities to win the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge, which awards $40 million to a city to kick off new transportation strategies.  Vulcan Inc., a company founded by Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen, kicked in another $10 million.

 

That the government and private business joined forces in this competition is apropos for Columbus, which is known for that sort of private/public partnerships.  Indeed, it's what led to Columbus winning the competition, according to several people with knowledge of the process.

 

MORE: http://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/news/2016/06/22/public-private-partnership-propelled-columbus.html

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Single payment 'SmartCard,' smart transit hubs to be rolled out after Smart City Challenge win

By Jeremy Hill, Columbus Business First

Updated: June 23, 2016, 4:58pm EDT

 

Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx made it official Thursday – Columbus will receive $40 million in federal grant money and $10 million from Vulcan Inc. as result of its Smart City Challenge win.  Ohio businesses and government threw in another $90 million. ... He joined other political and business leaders in the South Linden neighborhood of Columbus.  Mayor Andrew Ginther called the victory a "game changer" for Columbus.

 

A timeline for the implementation of the proposal isn't clear, but we do know some specifics about what Ginther is planning to do with Linden and other areas of the city. 

 

The flagship portion of Columbus' winning proposal is an investment that will bring various smart technologies to the the low-income community of South Linden — things like energy-saving streetlights that will dole out free WiFi, and car and bike sharing stations.  A city spokesperson told Business First via email that, as part of the CMAX expansion on Cleveland Avenue, the city will ... develop a single payment "SmartCard" that will serve as payment for COTA buses and car and bike sharing services.  The (grant) money will also go toward creating two "smart transportation hubs" in Linden, the spokesperson said, which will house the following:

  • Car sharing services

  • Bike sharing services

  • A rapid transit bus stop

  • A kiosk that provides free Wifi

  • Devices designed to improve the safety of waiting transit riders and pedestrians crossing the intersection

  • Columbus "SmartCard" vending machines

  • Local art will be featured in the transit stations

MORE: http://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/news/2016/06/23/single-payment-smartcard-smart-transit-hubs-to-be.html

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Why Columbus Just Won $140 Million to Become the Transportation City of the Future

“Columbus was chosen because it put forward an impressive holistic vision for how all its residents can move better and access opportunity,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a call today.

 

http://gizmodo.com/why-columbus-won-140-million-to-become-the-transportat-1782501311

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Also from http://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/news/2016/06/23/single-payment-smartcard-smart-transit-hubs-to-be.html:

 

"Columbus' proposal also involves a fleet of driverless cars stationed near Easton..."

 

Hmmm. Driverless cars. What could go wrong with that?

 

 

So, this Smart Cities grant$+ is to provide driverless cars for Easton and 'hood neighborhoods in Columbus, Ohio.  I would have thought Columbus would want to create a real public transit system first.  Kiosks, driverless and electric cars, wifi....sounds like political porkbarrel.  Oh wait, it's a big presidential election year.  Which state is crucial to carrying an election?

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Why Columbus Just Won $140 Million to Become the Transportation City of the Future

“Columbus was chosen because it put forward an impressive holistic vision for how all its residents can move better and access opportunity,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a call today.

 

http://gizmodo.com/why-columbus-won-140-million-to-become-the-transportat-1782501311

 

I just saw that gizmodo article.  It also contained the C-Bus pitch video (which I hadn't seen before today).  As I've said before, I'm not 100% on board with this approach.  But techies love this concept.  And that was a slick pitch video:

 

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So, this Smart Cities grant$+ is to provide driverless cars for Easton and 'hood neighborhoods in Columbus, Ohio.  I would have thought Columbus would want to create a real public transit system first.  Kiosks, driverless and electric cars, wifi....sounds like political porkbarrel.  Oh wait, it's a big presidential election year.  Which state is crucial to carrying an election?

 

They can't do both?  You equate wifi, electric vehicles, and autonomous navigation with politics? You are suggesting this grant was given so as to help Clinton get elected?  Do you have support for that statement outside of conjecture?

 

Personally I was under the impression this initiative was being done as a pilot program to challenge cities to incorporate emerging technologies into their transportation infrastructure in order to increase efficiency and reach. It's a relatively small amount of money in transportation budget terms, but it served its purpose well - by being a catalyst for private funding and a motivating factor for cities to modernize.  If Columbus can use the opportunity to gain critical insight into how the technologies function, they can utilize them in the existing or any proposed transportation systems.  I haven't heard anyone say this will solve transportation in Columbus, simply that it will enhance it.

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So, this Smart Cities grant$+ is to provide driverless cars for Easton and 'hood neighborhoods in Columbus, Ohio.  I would have thought Columbus would want to create a real public transit system first.  Kiosks, driverless and electric cars, wifi....sounds like political porkbarrel.  Oh wait, it's a big presidential election year.  Which state is crucial to carrying an election?

 

They can't do both?  You equate wifi, electric vehicles, and autonomous navigation with politics? You are suggesting this grant was given so as to help Clinton get elected?  Do you have support for that statement outside of conjecture?

 

Personally I was under the impression this initiative was being done as a pilot program to challenge cities to incorporate emerging technologies into their transportation infrastructure in order to increase efficiency and reach. It's a relatively small amount of money in transportation budget terms, but it served its purpose well - by being a catalyst for private funding and a motivating factor for cities to modernize.  If Columbus can use the opportunity to gain critical insight into how the technologies function, they can utilize them in the existing or any proposed transportation systems.  I haven't heard anyone say this will solve transportation in Columbus, simply that it will enhance it.

 

You're naïve if you completely miss out on the political aspect of this nonsense and other pork barrel baloney, party affiliation aside.

 

Enhance what transportation system in Columbus?  It barely has a bus system; it just started a bus shuttle to its airport last month. 

 

Finally the remedy for inner-city job woes: driverless cars to take inner-city residents to jobs because we all know that it's not a lack of skills but lack of transportation to get these folks to those high-paying corporate positions.

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You're naïve if you completely miss out on the political aspect of this nonsense and other pork barrel baloney, party affiliation aside.

-Ad hominem / Genetic Fallacy - you discount the action based on the source.

 

Enhance what transportation system in Columbus?  It barely has a bus system; it just started a bus shuttle to its airport last month. 

-Hyperbole - and a lacking transportation system is all the more reason to spend money on improving what we have and better positioning the city for future growth

 

Finally the remedy for inner-city job woes: driverless cars to take inner-city residents to jobs because we all know that it's not a lack of skills but lack of transportation to get these folks to those high-paying corporate positions.

-Straw man - it has not been stated that this is a remedy for inner city 'woes.'

 

Everything you said was illogical.

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Specific project info on the Smart Cities Grant keeps coming out in dribs and drabs.  From the Sunday Dispatch:  http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2016/06/26/columbus-to-get-smart-one-step-at-a-time.html:

 

"After winning a $50 million competition to become the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City, Columbus is set up to become the national hub for intelligent transportation systems. ... The grants from the federal government and Vulcan Inc. span four years.  Payouts will start in July.  In general, the city should do a lot of heavy lifting in the first three years to implement the ideas laid out in its proposal.  The fourth year largely will be about collecting data and evaluating how the technology is working."

 

"The city also is working with the Central Ohio Transit Authority on its Cmax bus-rapid transit line along the Cleveland Avenue corridor.  COTA received $38 million from the federal government for the project, which should start running in January 2018.  COTA will be busy with construction of the project in the next 18 months to prepare for that launch, so the city will have to work with the agency to ensure some Smart Columbus upgrades are made. ... Cmax will start initially as a free service in Linden, a key target in the city’s Smart City application."

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Well, this is either exciting or discouraging news - depending upon your point-of-view:

 


Columbus will 'leap-frog' light rail as transportation option after Smart City Challenge win

By Tom Knox, Reporter - Columbus Business First

July 14, 2016, 7:33am EDT

 

A wave of new transportation technology is coming to Columbus after the city won the federal Smart City Challenge.  The grant money will usher in driverless cars but could end the idea of rail as a mass-transit option.  “The City of Columbus plans to leap-frog fixed rail” by using new modes of transportation, Columbus says in the U.S. Department of Transportation application.

 

The city last month won a $40 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, besting cities like San Francisco and Portland, Oregon (who already have rail options).  Those cities are also larger and attract far more visitors to their cores.  The fact that Columbus is without rail might actually have helped its case in the smart-city competition, as it is the test case for new transportation methods that could scale to similar cities.

 

Columbus is the biggest city in the U.S. to not offer rail service – something like light rail, streetcars, monorail – as a mass transportation option.  Occasionally city leaders, like City Council President Zach Klein, murmur about finally figuring out whether the city needs it or not.  Questions surrounding who would pay for rail, how far it traverses and if rail is necessary for a spread-out city like Columbus typically dominate the discussion.  The Smart City application appears to put any hopes of light rail to rest, at least for the next four years of the implementation phase.

 

MORE: http://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/news/2016/07/14/columbus-will-leap-frog-lightrail-as.html

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Not sure how putting in smart cars (which don't even yet exist completely, if I'm not mistaken) in Linden/Easton area suddenly supplants the need for 2m+ people in the metro area to have a better public transit option besides COTA.

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9 awesome innovations coming to the very first smart city in the US

 

http://www.techinsider.io/closer-look-at-columbus-ohio-smart-city-2016-7

 

[*]Smart lighting will provide free WiFi throughout most of Linden, the northeastern part of Columbus, Ohio

[*]Sidewalk Labs could provide kiosks to provide transit information about the city's rapid bus service.

[*]A mobility app will give people real-time information of different transportation options they can use to get to their destination.

[*]Electric, self-driving cars will transport workers around Easton, a large shopping center in Columbus.

[*]Truck platooning will help transfer goods more efficiently and serve as a stepping stone to autonomous truck deployment.

[*]Residents can pay for all their transportation, from taking a bus to Lyft, on one convenient card called a Smart Pass.

[*]An app will let you know where the nearest parking spot is.

[*]Columbus will release more electric buses and spur the conversion to electric cars by setting up more charging stations throughout the city.

[*]Installing solar panels will help charge electric vehicles at night.

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Smart Columbus Update: More Funding Secured, New “Chief Innovation Officer” to Lead Effort

 

timthumb.php?src=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.columbusunderground.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2017%2F02%2Fsmart-cities.jpg&q=90&w=650&zc=1&

 

When Columbus was announced as the winner of the $40 million federal Smart City grant last summer, much was made of the additional $90 million in matching resources that were secured from local corporate and institutional partners.

 

The city announced last week that it has secured additional commitments, growing the total pot of monetary and in-kind contributions to over $350 million.

 

More below:

http://www.columbusunderground.com/smart-columbus-update-bw1

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9 awesome innovations coming to the very first smart city in the US

 

http://www.techinsider.io/closer-look-at-columbus-ohio-smart-city-2016-7

 

[*]Smart lighting will provide free WiFi throughout most of Linden, the northeastern part of Columbus, Ohio

[*]Sidewalk Labs could provide kiosks to provide transit information about the city's rapid bus service.

[*]A mobility app will give people real-time information of different transportation options they can use to get to their destination.

[*]Electric, self-driving cars will transport workers around Easton, a large shopping center in Columbus.

[*]Truck platooning will help transfer goods more efficiently and serve as a stepping stone to autonomous truck deployment.

[*]Residents can pay for all their transportation, from taking a bus to Lyft, on one convenient card called a Smart Pass.

[*]An app will let you know where the nearest parking spot is.

[*]Columbus will release more electric buses and spur the conversion to electric cars by setting up more charging stations throughout the city.

[*]Installing solar panels will help charge electric vehicles at night.

 

Yawn. 

 

Smart Cities is a Trojan horse.  This is all about Silicon Valley formulating privatization schemes that will send local tax dollars to San Francisco yuppies. 

 

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