Sensible Columbus Experiment Involves a Shut, Taking New Type


A five year project promoting mobility innovation in Columbus, Ohio has ended, but the spirit and the work remain.

In 2016, Columbus was selected by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) as the winner of a $ 50 million Smart City Challenge scholarship, comprised of $ 10 million from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. The city began to move forward with numerous projects related to transport innovations.

“After the funding projects are completed, the city and other partners will continue to live off the legacy of the original portfolio. We will build on the successes, ”said Jordan Davis, director of Smart Columbus at Columbus Partnership.

The initiative will be continued as an innovation laboratory and will face new challenges such as expanding the use of renewable energies and closing the digital divide.

Smart Columbus – the banner under which the projects were carried – took the lead in disseminating electric vehicles, both in the driving audience and in the city’s vehicle fleet. A new Smart parking was created along with a Mobility-as-a-Service app called pivot point That brings different public and private modes into one app. A Autonomous shuttle program was launched among other things. All of this worked within the redesigned Smart city operating system.

The operating system, the pivot app, new mobility hubs, the networked vehicle environment and the smart parking system will be continued in their previous form. Other projects such as the autonomous shuttle program have been completed, officials say.

“We want to focus on making sure the infrastructure we have is AV-ready,” said Andrew Wolpert, assistant program manager for the City of Columbus. “But we’ll help support AV delivery in the future if someone wants to.”

Other projects, such as the Pivot app, have not yet lived up to the city’s claim to combine multimodal travel planning and comprehensive fare payment in one app. Currently, users can plan trips with the app while they leave the app to pay and are then redirected.

“I think it reinforces where the whole system wants to go,” Jordan said of the concept of mobility as a service. “We’re not the only community trying to find out. Everyone is. We approached it in an open source way that I think multiple cities have benefited from at the same time. “

Jordan envisions a future where drivers are so seamlessly integrated across all modes, making the traditional “transit pass” a relic.

“You only pay for one mobility pass, like an ‘All Mobility Pass’, and you can use it anywhere with scooters and shared rides … however you need to get to your destination,” she explained.

A central physical characteristic of Smart Columbus is that Experience center, opened in July 2018 in downtown on the banks of the Scioto River as a showcase for electric vehicles as well as a place to showcase innovations in areas such as the Internet of Things, autonomous and other connected vehicle technologies, and other smart city innovations.

The Experience Center will continue to serve as the nexus for Smart Columbus as the movement embarks on its next chapter. For example, the city will continue efforts to expand the adoption of electric vehicles.

“But of course, you should also expand more to the adoption of renewable energy,” said Davis. “This is the next big needle that we can move here to reduce emissions.”

And it’s not just reducing emissions and researching renewable energy models that are on the agenda. Equity and closing the digital divide remain both a challenge and an opportunity, Jordan said.

“How can we support the residents more individually in their needs?” She offered. “Since we go beyond mobility and penetrate smart cities holistically, we will of course only transfer this Experience Center into a broader story.”

To date, Columbus has spent approximately $ 46.4 million on Smart Columbus, with approximately $ 8.2 million of the nearly $ 55 million unspent. The funding mix consisted of public and private sources. Part of this money will be allocated during the last two months of the project and the rest will be returned to the program sponsor according to the final report of the project.

The various projects operated under Smart Columbus have had an economic impact of nearly $ 720 million and created or created 3,870 jobs, according to the Columbus partnership.

However, one of the enduring legacies of Smart Columbus could be the culture of engaging the stakeholders that the process fostered.

“You want to get a wide range of views on what problems are there,” said Wolpert. “And that’s why I really think the grassroots efforts to connect with people, groups and individuals have been really helpful.”

This commitment has helped build trust and relationships across the community and set the stage for future projects and growth in the smart city space.

“When we won [the 2016 Smart City Challenge] I think a lot of people were like, ‘Oh, we won a trophy.’ As if we won that award for being a smart city, ”reflected Davis. “But in reality we didn’t. We won a job. “

“And even now that we’ve done it, we’re not a smart city,” she added. “It’s been a decade-long journey. But we are very robust and have a long, but very exciting way ahead of us. “


Intelligent Columbus operating system:
Cost – $ 15.9 million
Supervised people – 58,000+
Recorded Records – 2,000+

Networked vehicle environment:
Cost – $ 11.3 million
Participating vehicle – 1,000+
Participating Crossings – 85

Multimodal travel planning app (pivot):
Cost – $ 2.3 million
Downloads – 1.103
Journeys Made – 447
Mobility provider – 8

Smart mobility hubs:
Cost – $ 1.3 million
Kiosk Interactions – 65,000+
Hub locations – 6

Smart parking:
Cost – $ 1.3 million
Parking spaces – 4,300
Loading zones – 130
Transactions – 1 million +

Source: Smart Columbus