Through data, we can enable cities, researchers, nonprofits and businesses to better make decisions and solve problems.

Smart Columbus Operating System

The Goal

The Smart Columbus Operating System is the nexus where our city becomes “smart.” By ingesting, visualizing and sharing open, secure data, the Operating System will equip public sector officials and private sector innovators to use data to activate insight

Smart Columbus Operating System


The Smart Columbus Operating System is a cloud-agnostic, open-source data platform that houses all the Smart Columbus Program performance indicator data and uniquely generated project data, and integrates all the program’s projects into a central data platform. It provides the key functionality to develop and explore new concepts in data-driven transportation infrastructure by sending, receiving and visualizing real-time data from public and private organizations. The goal was to create a replicable and sustainable data platform that enables cities, researchers, nonprofits and businesses to better make decisions and solve problems.

The operating system features a first-of-its-kind visual data ingestion interface for internal and public use, allowing data from a wide variety of sources to be added and integrated. All data is evaluated by a data curator and must align with a Data Management Plan and Data Privacy Plan. It provides streaming data services, ingesting the real-time project data from the Connected Vehicle Environment and program partners such as the Central Ohio Transit Authority. Other features include browser-based data querying and visualization tools, and machine learning and hosting (specifically the Event Parking Management project’s parking predictive availability model).

The operating system was also used for improvements outside of transportation. The City’s Division of Infrastructure Management used it to host their Employee and Work Order Allocation Dashboard, which was a key deliverable in improving agency efficiency.

The operating system is built upon the principle of microservices architecture, where a series of processes communicates over a network to fulfill the goal of storing and retrieving data. All the operating system components had to meet the following criteria: open source, widely used in the development community and well-documented support for implementation and maintenance. This ensures that Columbus, and any future city that implements a similar system, can easily find the development resources and support it needs. While open technologies are less common in the public sector, leading technologists in innovative organizations often favor them. This brought these innovative engineering capabilities to the operating system, and ensured that it could be migrated across technology platforms without vendor lock-in, reducing licensing costs for software, and providing public access to the operating system technology.

Autonomous Connected Electric Shared Department of Transportation Mobility Sustainability

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Learn about the Smart Columbus Operating System

The Smart Columbus Operating System is the backbone of all the USDOT-funded projects.