As the winner of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Smart City Challenge, Columbus will receive $40 million from DOT and $10 million from Vulcan Inc. to develop a fully-integrated transportation network.

News of the award came in an email from Ohio’s senior senator in Washington, Sherrod Brown. Columbus won out over 78 others who had applied, securing $50 million in combined funds for a first-of-its-kind transportation network that will be matched with local investments of $90 million to change the mobility landscape of Columbus.

“This funding is a game changer for the City of Columbus and central Ohio,” Sen. Brown said in prepared remarks. “I’m glad the Department of Transportation recognized what so many of us already know – Columbus is a smart city that deserves to win this challenge.”

Helping to win the award was the “skilled and diverse workforce” in Columbus, Ohio’s new “Opportunity City” and its state-of-the-art research institutions. The transportation network is expected to increase access to jobs, better link neighborhoods and improve real-time information in a sustainable, safe way.

Sen. Brown, who was in Columbus just a few weeks ago to join other Columbus leaders at an event featuring DOT’s leader Anthony Foxx, said it will go beyond linking neighborhoods and improving mobility for residents to also encourage additional growth and provide for new and existing technology companies to locate in Columbus.

Sen. Brown serves as ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, which oversees funding for DOT, which clearly played a key role in bringing this award to Columbus. Sen. Brown worked to highlight Columbus’ innovative application as the Smart Cities competition has progressed. More information is available here.


In December 2015, DOT announced the Smart City Challenge, a competition designed to help one city develop a fully-integrated transportation network using data and technology to connect communities and move people and goods more efficiently. The City of Columbus partnered with the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA), the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC), the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), Columbus 2020, Experience Columbus, and local stakeholders to submit an application to DOT earlier this year. Through Columbus’ new Smart City Program Office, additional partners, including the Ohio State University, Battelle, IBM and Clean Fuels Ohio, will assist the City with achieving its Smart City vision.