Smart City Challenge in the U.S. – 7 FINALISTS

SmarterCities1 Smart-City

The Smart City Challenge is a nationwide competition set to award the winning U.S. city a prize of $50 million through the Department of Transportation and its partners, for that city’s ideas to develop the connected city of the future and address the challenges that growing populations present to transportation infrastructure.

The race December 2015:

“The level of excitement and energy the Smart City Challenge has created around the country far exceeded our expectations,” said US transportation secretary Anthony Foxx. “After an overwhelming response – 78 cities joined last year total – we chose to select seven finalists instead of five because of their outstanding potential to transform the future of urban transportation.”

The winning city will receive intelligent traffic management technology from NXP, enabling real-time vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication.


Saturday, March 12th, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, joined by Barbara Bennett, President and COO of Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc. and Rick Clemmer CEO of NXP Semiconductors, announced seven finalists for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Smart City Challenge.



SmartCityChallengeFinalistsMap_0The Seven finalists are:

  • Austin, Texas
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Kansas City, Missouri
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Portland, Oregon
  • San Francisco, California

The USDOT has pledged up to $40 million (funding subject to future appropriations) to one city to help it define what it means to be a “Smart City “and become the country’s first city to fully integrate innovative technologies – self-driving cars, connected vehicles, and smart sensors – into their transportation network.

Smart City Challenge as a provider of vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2X) technology. With this partnership, NXP, together with its partner Cohda Wireless, will provide the contest’s winning community with wireless technology that allows cars to securely exchange data, such as hazard warnings, over distances of more than a mile to prevent accidents and improve traffic flow.
When the challenge was issued in December 2015, the department’s launch partner, Paul Allen’s Vulcan, announced its intent to award up to $10m to the winning city to support electric vehicle deployment and other carbon emission reduction strategies.

Second phase of the competition:


The seven finalists:

  • Austin, Texas
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Kansas City, Missouri
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Portland, Oregon
  • San Francisco, California

The seven finalists will receive a $100,000 grant to develop their proposals. Whereas the first phase called for a high-level overview, the winning city will be selected based on their ability to think big, and provide a detailed roadmap on how they will integrate innovative technologies to prototype the future of transportation in their city. The department will work with each city to connect them with existing partnerships and support their final proposal with technical assistance.

Autodesk will provide InfraWorks 360 and finalists will get access to and training on the modelling platform, which uses 3D visualisations and real-world data to plan major engineering projects.

The technology also allows cars to ‘talk’ to traffic lights and give priority to emergency vehicles, truck platoons, buses or other priority means of transport. RoadLINK additionally protects against illegal attacks with NXP’s V2X hardware security technology.

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Mai Truong

I am passionate about helping companies create cultures that support and initiate Sustainability Development Goals for better living for the next future generation.

I provide Pragmatic Advice and Consultancy services to entrepreneurs and startups.
I have 26 years Professional experience in International Business Development, Market Research, Implementation Network Distribution for new Product in the new market. Mai is an Entrepreneur for over 18 years and wearing many hats from CEO/Founder/Sustainable Brands Consultant at Brand Building Consulting to contribute to the society as Pro Bono, Account Director at Taproot Foundation Organization for Non Profit Organization around the globe to focus attention on the pro bono movements, Member of Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce, Practitioner and Member at Urban Manufacturing Ecosystem Los Angeles County.


  1. Excellent read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing a little research on that. And he actually bought me lunch since I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that: Thank you for lunch!

  2. Re:

    In your assessment of which of the five finalists should receive the $50 million Smart City grant, I suggest you look at the City of Austin’ Department of Transportation’s history with even non-complex challenges.

    Austin’s traffic signalization system has never worked. Synchronization is minimal, and we must wait for “ghost cars” that get green lights in left turn lanes and cross streets even if there is no car there, all of which results in a) increased congestion and traffic delays that waste countless hours for citizens; b) increased fuel consumption and pollution; c) increased likelihood for intersection collisions and pedestrian injuries and fatalities; and, most important. For many years the department refused to fix broken traffic signal preemption devices that would allow EMS, police and fire emergency vehicles to get through congested intersections as safely and as expeditiously as possible.

    Responsibility for the design for a proposed urban rail system was yanked from the City of Austin’s Department of Transportation because it proved to be beyond the department’s capability.

    New York City’s successful “Vision Zero” planning process, whose goal was to reduce traffic related fatality and serious injury incidents, was adopted by the Austin City Council. Austin’s Vision Zero Task Force was charged by the Council with reducing the number of traffic fatalities in Austin because Austin closed 2015 with 101 fatalities, almost twice as many as in 2014. The Task Force had been run since its inception a year ago by the City’s Planning Department, with the Transportation Department constantly in the background having a temper tantrum because it was not given this responsibility, trying to hijack and undermine the committee’s process by insisting that it control any discussion or recommendation that might be on its turf. (Example: Queries regarding the department’s justification for directing its engineering and construction resources to improve intersection safety at three intersections that are statistically much lower in risk than many other intersections in the City.) In December Austin’s city manager decided to allow internal the department’s Turf & Silo games trump the need to reduce the carnage on our streets by completely removing Planning from the process it had managed for one year and giving it to Transportation. The Department of Transportation has since ignored the many people on the Task Force who devoted countless hours to the effort, and didn’t even bother to notify the Task Force members of the change from Planning to Transportation.

    An engineer from Transportation came to a meeting of our neighborhood association to hear many people voice both traffic related concerns and offer possible solutions. The engineer took no notes, and said “No, it can’t be done” to every suggestion. Not even a perfunctory “Let me check it into it and I’ll get back to you.” Whole new meaning was given to the word “arrogance”.

    Please don’t believe me on any of this.

    But before you hand a check for $50 million to Austin rather than to the other finalists, I suggest you do your own due diligence. I have no doubt that you will find that one of the other finalist cities would give DOT and Vulcan a far greater return on their investment for this very important effort.

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