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The US Department of Transport Launched the Smart City Challenge to Create the City of the Future.  

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Vincent Callebaut’s Vision of Paris as a Smart City in 2050

78 cities were in the running to win the Smart City Challenge with the projects they have entered to improve transport. All have applied state-of-the-art technology to transport projects  including self-driving vehicles, connected vehicles and intelligent sensors. 

A short time ago, Anthony Foxx, United States Secretary of Transportation, announced the shortlist of finalist cities that opt for the prize of US$ 50 million for transport improvement projects in their cities. A further US$ 10 million is being offered by Paul Allen, the millionaire owner of Vulcan, Inc. to develop electric vehicles and other measures in the winning city to reduce carbon dioxide. The shortlisted cities were: Austin; Columbus; Denver; Kansas City; Pittsburgh; Portland and San Francisco.

Recently the seven cities made their final pitches to defend the main thrust of their projects:

  • Austin, Texas presented a project involving automatic vehicles with their intelligent stations and marketplace mobility.
  • Columbus, Ohio tabled a project for real-time transportation systems and intelligent corridors.
  • Denver, Colorado their project focussed on on-demand mobility and electric vehicles.
  • Kansas City, Missouri self-driving shuttles, mobility apps for pedestrians and intelligent public lighting.
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania focussed on the intelligent management of goods transport, developing self-driving transport and an app to create accident reports.
  • San Francisco, California development of a shared, connected self-driving vehicle.
  • Portland, Oregon transportation safety apps, Wi-Fi Access Points to provide internet connection and tourist information at transport transits points and electric buses.

The winner, Columbus, was recently announced.

But, what exactly is a smart city? These “intelligent” cities respond to the ever growing need for sustainability. These cities use infrastructures, technology and innovation to reduce energy consumption and their carbon footprint. Many of the measures to increase sustainability involve transportation improvements including electric vehicles, solar panels, wind-powered street lighting, solar-powered traffic lights and signs, encouraging the use of bicycles…

How do we judge whether a city is smart or not? 10 key criteria are used to classify cities: governability; urban planning; public management; technology; environment; international projection; social cohesion; mobility and transport; human resources and economy.

The OCDE (Organisation for Cooperation and Economic Development) warned that, unless drastic measures are put in place, economic and demographic growth will have an unprecedented social and environmental impact in 2050. Taking into account that the great majority of the population lives in large cities and urban areas, these are where major efforts have to be made to accommodate the more than 2,000 million people projected for 2050. Smart Governance underpins efforts to create sustainable urban ecosystems. This includes several tools of local governance such as: strategic planning of policies and processes.