In the fifth (and final) of our Smart City Series, we are featuring Columbus, Ohio--winner of the first ever National Smart City Challenge. With an award of $50 million in grant funding, Columbus is reinventing city mobility through a data-powered operating system called the Smart Columbus Operating System. The goal is to diversify transit options while increasing efficiency, accessibility and sustainability.
Here are 5 of the city’s most innovative smart city technologies to watch:
Smart Mobility Hubs
Columbus is creating centralized transportation hubs that will increase accessibility and limit the need for personal internet access. City residents will be able to access free WiFi and a wide variety of transportation options via an interactive, digital kiosk known as “IKE” (Interactive Kiosk Experience). They’ll also have access to emergency calling, social services, maps and a trip planning and payment service. This standalone unit provides real-time travel information while giving power and access to the user.
The Smart Columbus Initiative has partnered with DriveOhio, a division of the Ohio Department of Transportation dedicated to autonomous vehicle technology, to launch the Smart Circuit program. Smart Circuit is the first self-driving shuttle in Ohio. It circles downtown Columbus, providing free rides between some of the city’s most popular destinations. The shuttle uses sensors to help determine location, speed and any roadblocks in its way.
Connected Vehicle Environment
Columbus will soon begin their pilot program to install “on-board units” onto public and private vehicles. This smart technology enables communication between connected units, allowing for in-car alerts for collisions and blind spot detection. It also creates a general “connected vehicle environment,” helping improve overall traffic flow and mobility for emergency vehicles, as needed.
Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure
By 2020, Columbus is anticipating they will have 755 electric vehicles (EVs), spanning the public and private sectors. In preparation, the city is building a charging infrastructure, with more than 900 charging ports. Incentives will be offered to workplaces, government offices and residential buildings that allow ports to be installed on their properties.
Event Parking Management
Launching in March 2020, Columbus visitors will be able to use an app to view, reserve and pay in advance for parking spaces in garages and surface lots. They’ll also be able to check the availability of on-street spaces. The app will use predictive analytic technology, hopefully reducing congestion, driver frustration, and carbon emissions that come with large-scale events.
Columbus is using their smart technologies to become a leader among Midwestern cities and to become a model for the future of smart urban transit. What “smart” technologies is your city is implementing? Leave us a note to discuss below.