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Smart City Challenge

In December 2015,  we  launched  our  Smart  City  Challenge,  asking  mid-sized cities across America to develop ideas for an integrated, first-of-its-kind smart transportation system that would use data, applications, and technology to help people and goods move more quickly, cheaply, and efficiently. The Challenge generated an overwhelming response: 78 applicant cities shared the challenges they face and ideas for how to tackle them. Then, our seven finalists worked with DOT to further develop their ideas. 

With the publication of our report, "Smart City Challenge: Lessons for Building Cities of the Future," we are making good on our promise to share the lessons we learned about the transportation challenges America's cities face and about the innovative solutions that could help us meet those those challenges.

We encourage you to explore this site and to download our report for an overview of the lessons we learned.

We also encourage you to explore the ideas we've included in our Smart City Challenge dataset below.

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Addressing the challenges of today and tomorrow

Over the past year, the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) has leveraged nearly $350 million in public and private funds for smart city and advanced transportation technologies. Building on Beyond Traffic 2045, the Smart City Challenge provided a spark for cities looking to revolutionize their transportation systems to help improve people’s lives. Through the Smart City Challenge, the Department committed up to $40 million to one winning city. In response, cities leveraged an additional $500 million in private and public funding to help make their Smart City visions real. And, in October 2016, the Department announced an additional $65 million in grants to support community-driven advanced technology transportation projects in cities across America, including 4 of the finalists in the Smart City Challenge.

By challenging American cities to use emerging transportation technologies to address their most pressing problems, the Smart City Challenge aimed to spread innovation through a mixture of competition, collaboration, and experimentation. But the Smart City Challenge was about more than just technology. We called on mayors to define their most pressing transportation problems and envision bold new solutions that could change the face of transportation in our cities by meeting the needs of residents of all ages and abilities; and bridging the digital divide so that everyone, not just the tech-savvy, can be connected to everything their city has to offer.

What we learned from across America

The response to the challenge was unprecedented—we received 78 applications. Cities from Albuquerque to Anchorage and Providence to Portland took the Challenge as an opportunity to create blueprints of their cities’ transportation futures.

The applications proposed a wide range of innovative approaches to tackling urban mobility challenges. Here are just a few of the ideas from the 78 Smart City visions:

Map of 78 applicants

Updated: Thursday, June 29, 2017
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