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Columbus, Ohio Emerges as Smart City Challenge Winner

By Sally Murdoch

DOT-approved conspicuity red & white reflective tape

As a safety product supplier to US Departments of Transportation (USDOTs) across the U.S., Graphic Products would like to offer congratulations to the City of Columbus, Ohio for winning the Smart City Challenge. The national award was hosted by US DOT in tandem with Vulcan Inc. of Seattle. According to the Smart City Challenge website, as the award winner, "Columbus will work to reshape its transportation system to become part of a fully-integrated city that harnesses the power and potential of data, technology, and creativity to reimagine how people and goods move throughout their city…This public-private collaboration represents the U.S. DOT and Vulcan Inc.’s joint belief that creativity and innovation will be essential to meeting the significant transportation challenges of the future.”

Columbus Rises Above the Competition

The Smart City Challenge was announced to municipalities in December 2015, and is the first of its kind in that it combines public grant monies with private partnerships, and that cities are awarded instead of states. Of the 78 cities that competed, six advanced, along with Columbus, to the final round: Austin, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Kansas City, Missouri; Portland, Oregon; San Francisco, California; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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."

According to Wired Magazine, "Columbus came to this challenge prepared—a big reason why it won. The city hired a project manager and put out requests for contractors before finishing the application process, Mayor Andy Ginther says the city raised $90 million from local organizations and businesses. Now, with the $40 million from DOT and another $10 million from Paul Allen’s Vulcan, it has to execute.”

The Smart City Challenge builds on the US DOT's Beyond Traffic draft report, a 30-year outlook on the future state of traffic, issued in February of 2015. The U.S. DOT noted that a dramatically growing population in new areas throughout the U.S., combined with the need for increased mobility options in developing mega-regions, spurred on the creation of this challenge.

Applicants were invited to submit ideas, stating that these need to be:

“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. “

Graphic Products Covers Transportation

Graphic Products offers a range of transportation resources such as its DOT-approved PathFinder Conspicuity Red/White Reflective Tape for trucks, trailers, buses, and rail cars to increase visibility to other drivers. The company also offers printable prismatic tape which provides high visibility communication on large vehicles.