Our Journey


June 13th, 2024

Post by Donna Marbury, Smart Columbus Storyteller

Columbus is America’s Test Market. Fast food chains test hamburgers here. Politicians test stump speeches here. Clothing companies test designs here. Because time and time again, people have found that if you can make a product, a service or an idea work in Columbus, it can work anywhere. 

It’s one of the reasons Columbus won the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Smart City Challenge. The majority of mid-size American cities face the same mobility challenges we face in Columbus: congestion created by growth, high rates of single occupant vehicle commutes, neighborhoods cut off from opportunity, and more. 

As the winner of the Challenge, we’ve been offered a unique opportunity: $50 million in grant funding from the USDOT and Paul G. Allen Philanthropies to discover how we can accelerate human progress through open mobility. We’re using this opportunity to test intelligent transportation services, new mobility service models and new behaviors to help identify what works here—and can work across the country. 

We’re committed to becoming the model for connected cities of the future. To take what works here and show cities around the country and the world how they can learn from our successes. 

The Smart Columbus Playbook is our platform for sharing what we’re doing, what we’ve learned and how other cities can do it, too. Through this Playbook, we will track wins—and as important, challenges— of the Smart Columbus program. We hope to engage and inspire other cities with this comprehensive look at our evolution to becoming a smart city. 

Our goal is to share everything—including contracts, program materials, presentations, white papers, videos, webinars and data. The assets available for your use — if you see materials and information that can jumpstart your smart programs and initiatives or inform your research, then take it! Everything is downloadable and customizable. 

We will also include stories about the journey to becoming a smart city, and lessons from our partners who have worked alongside us to engage our residents and improve quality of life, safety, sustainability and economic growth in our city through smart mobility. 

By the end of 2020, we hope to educate one million city officials, policy makers, business leaders and influences on the Smart Columbus successes and challenges. 

Please come back to this Playbook, as we will be updating it regularly with learnings and stories that will expand the impact and reach of this opportunity. 

If you have questions about this Playbook or would like to learn more about specific Smart Columbus programs, we invite you contact Smart Columbus Storyteller Donna Marbury atdmarbury@electrificationcoalition.org.


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