/ CALL US + 44 (0) 20 3873 0260
  • 4531_SmartTransit_2019_Banner_728x90
  • 180731_BU_EB_1802_unife-wrms_728x90

$50m prize on offer to build the American Smart City of the future.

Posted by SmartRail World Staff on Dec 16, 2015

Louisville, KY - eligible to enter the contest.“…creativity and innovation will be absolutely essential to meeting the significant transportation challenges of the future….”

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has fired the starting pistol on a Smart City Challenge designed to create a fully integrated, first-of-its-kind city that combines data, technology and creativity to shape how people and goods move in the future. With an estimated 70 per cent of the world’s population predicted to live in urban areas by 2050 the US government is facing up to the fact they need to be smarter and better. The winning city will be awarded up to $40 million from the U.S. DOT (funding subject to future appropriations) to implement bold, data-driven ideas by making transportation safer, easier, and more reliable.  Additionally, co-founder of Microsoft and philanthropist Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc., has announced its intent to award up to $10 million to the U.S. DOT winner of the Smart City Challenge.  Although the winning city will need to work with Vulcan in order to secure this funding.

The Smart City Challenge builds on the U.S. DOT’s Beyond Traffic  draft report issued in February of 2015.  Beyond Traffic reveals that America’s aging infrastructure is not equipped to deal with a dramatically growing population in new regions throughout the country and the need for increased mobility options in developing megaregions.  This public-private collaboration represents the U.S. DOT and Vulcan Inc.’s joint belief that creativity and innovation will be absolutely essential to meeting the significant transportation challenges of the future.  Lessons learned from this competition will be used in other cities to improve networks nationwide and demonstrate a practical path to replacing carbon-based fuel consumption.  U.S. DOT welcomes the participation of other entities who share the vision and goals in the Notice of Funding Opportunity found here.

“This is an opportunity for the winning city to define what it means to be a ‘Smart City’ when it comes to transportation.  We encourage cities to develop their own unique vision, partnerships and blueprints to demonstrate to the world what a fully integrated, forward-looking transportation network looks like,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.  “America can remain the global leader in maintaining the safest, most efficient system in the world: I am looking for Mayors who share that belief to join us in pushing the boundaries of what is possible.”

USDOT is kicking off its Smart City Challenge by inviting cities to submit a high-level description of their vision of a Smart City by February 4, 2016, consistent with the Notice of Funding Opportunity.  U.S. DOT will then announce five finalists in March 2016, who will then compete for up to $40 million to be awarded to one city in June 2016.  The Smart City Challenge will allow the selected city to demonstrate how advanced data, technologies, and applications can be used to reduce congestion, keep travellers safe, protect the environment, respond to climate change, and support economic vitality.

Listed below are the attributes of the ideal Smart City Challenge candidate:

  • Mid-sized city with a population between approximately 200,000 and 850,000 people within city limits as of the 2010 Census;
  • A population density typical of a mid-sized city using 2010 Census data;
  • Represents a significant portion (more than 15%) of the overall population of its urban area using 2010 Census data;
  • An established public transportation system;
  • An environment that is conducive to demonstrating proposed strategies; and
  • Leadership and capacity to carry out the demonstration throughout the period of performance.

Anthony_Foxx_on_PTC“Transformative innovation takes ambitious support from both the government and the private sector.  That’s why we’re partnering with the DOT to inspire innovative, scalable, proof-of-concept solutions to address some of our planet’s most urgent challenges,” said Vulcan President and Chief Operating Officer Barbara Bennett.  “We hope that together we can spur change by demonstrating what is possible through replicable models.”

Applicants are invited to submit ideas – designed to address or enhance community needs – across a range of innovation and data-driven platforms.  Critical system improvements that increase safety, reduce carbon emissions, and enhance mobility are especially encouraged for review.  Specifically, these innovations will connect people, vehicles, public transportation, and infrastructure through ITS, sharing economy, and other technologies that improve the way Americans move, whether it be to drop off kids at school, pick up their groceries, get to work, and receive critical services.  

The first round of applications is due February 4, 2016.  Cities interested in applying or to learn more about the Smart City Challenge or to explore joining as a partner organization, visit

SmartRail World will be sure to keep you up to date with all the latest on the contest.

SmartRail Europe 2016


If you like reading about plans for the American smart city you may also be interested in...

Hong Kong tops Urban Mobility Index but cities struggle with transit challenges.

156 cities have one but which is the world's busiest metro network?



Topics: projects, smartcities

Get The Latest Updates From SmartRail World

Please use the form below to leave a comment about this story.