How Columbus’ transportation innovations are putting the city on the global map

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – A meeting of the minds, of sorts, focused on technology and the future of Columbus.

That served as the focus for Wednesday’s Metropolitan Club luncheon.

During the discussion, those in attendance learned about a ranking, something many of those in the room didn’t know.

Columbus earned high marks in a recent international study that focuses on the role of city governments in smart development.

The accolades come because of how the city used a $40 million U.S. Department of Transportation grant.

Ohio’s capital city is making a name for itself on the global stage. The Eden Strategy Institute named Columbus to its top smart city governments, ranking it 11th in the world, and second only to New York City in the U.S.

“It’s important because we can use technology to really serve our residents in new and different ways and help them live their best lives and get to and from where they really need to go,” said Mandy Bishop, program manager for Smart Columbus, which finds ways to reinvent mobility in central Ohio.

Like the autonomous shuttles that operated in Linden, the nation’s first daily-operating public self-driving shuttle in a residential area.

Until the COVID-19 pandemic, the vehicles took neighbors to places like doctor’s appointments.

Then, they delivered meals and masks to people in the community.

The Pivot Columbus app helped the city stand out.

Pivot pulls together the best ways to get through the city and help plan and pay for trips, all in one place.

Columbus also gave its meters an upgrade, changing the way you pay to park.

“We’re doing our job,” Bishop said. “We really focused our program on serving our residents. We really elevated the profile of Columbus and leveraging some of the existing infrastructure that we have in place.”

A $10 million private grant also helped with the efforts.

The city said Smart Columbus helped get some 20,000 people to various job sites, and even utilized the ability to get vehicles to communicate with each other to reduce traffic tie-ups and crashes.

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