Officials say they hope a new data management platform will allow universities and nonprofits to share information with the public and across institutional boundaries.
The Columbus, Ohio City Council has approved a contract with technology consulting company Pillar Technology Group this week to develop an operating system that will analyze and share data on innovative transportation projects. Officials say this $2.5 million project is intended to be the "cornerstone" of the city's Smart Columbus project.
In June 2016, Columbus won the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge when the city launched a plan to create a next-generation transit system based on implementing driverless shuttle cars and connected buses. The challenge was geared toward cities making ways to improve the economy and foster sustainability.
Columbus' operating system would be a citywide data management platform for information collected around the Smart City Challenge's transportation projects. Brandi Braun, Columbus' deputy innovation officer, told The Columbus Dispatch that she expects the vendor to be on board by June.
Universities and nonprofits will be able to share data with the community through this project, Mike Stevens, Columbus' chief innovation officer, told The Columbus Dispatch.
Columbus beat out six other finalists to receive a $40 million federal grant and $10 million from Vulcan Inc., a private company founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Through the Smart Columbus accelerated fund, private and public sector investors promised to contribute $90 million to the project but investments have reached well over $500 million, according to the project's website.
The American Electric Power Company (AEP) in Ohio donated nearly $200 million to specifically advance electric vehicle adoption and to modernize the city's power grid. The Columbus Dispatch reported that AEP also plans to build nearly 1,200 charging stations around the state for electronic vehicles in support of Smart Columbus.
Another big donation came from the private sector of the city in the amount of $12 million to support the operation and sustainability of the smart city's initiative.
Andrew Ginther, mayor of Columbus, says he wants to raise $1 billionin local resources for Smart Columbus by the end of 2020.
The city must execute its proposal and share project data and lessons learned with the U.S. Department of Transportation by 2020.
The city did not respond to emails and phone calls requesting more information about the operating system contract.
By Michelai A. Graham