77 cities respond to Smart City Challenge

The winner of the Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge will receive more than $50 million in funding and support to improve its transportation network.

A grand prize of $40 million and the chance to use new safety and emissions technologies have enticed 77 medium-sized cities across the country to submit applications for the Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge.

DOT released a list of every city that submitted a proposal before the Feb. 4 deadline. Of the 77 cities, 11 are from California; Florida has six cities that submitted applications.  The Smart City Challenge was announced in December 2015 as a response to the Beyond Traffic report, which showed the nation’s infrastructure is not capable of dealing with expected population growth and that medium-sized cities would be most affected.

The challenge called for innovations and new technologies that would create a system that makes transportation safer, easier and more reliable. The winning city will receive up to $40 million in federal funding to implement its ideas. Additionally, the winner will receive free installation on its bus fleet of Mobileye’s Shield+ collision avoidance system that uses smart cameras that monitor blind spots. The winning city also will receive $10 million in support from Vulcan Inc. to deploy electric vehicles and other carbon emission reduction strategies.

“I issued this challenge in December and quite frankly, we are very impressed by the response by community leaders across the country,” said DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This challenge is going to do more than just help one city adopt innovative ideas. Instead, it will serve as a catalyst for widespread change in communities across America.”

Five finalists will be announced March 12 at the South by Southwest Conference in Austin, Texas. Those cities will receive $100,000 to work on their proposals and applications. The final selection process is scheduled for June.

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