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The smart-city movement lives on with the Smart Cities Collaborative

Just because the government's contest ended doesn't mean cities should stop thinking about the future of mobility.


When Columbus, Ohio, was crowned the winner of the US government's Smart City Challenge, that wasn't the end of thinking about improving urban mobility. It was just the beginning, and that idea continues with the new Smart Cities Collaborative.

The Smart Cities Collaborative, put on by the Transportation for America alliance and backed by Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs, wants its member cities to form groups that seek new ways to tackle vehicle automation, shared mobility and data analytics. All three of these areas are vital to building a city that can hang with new methods of transportation.

The 16 participating cities are Austin, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Boston, Massachusetts; Centennial, Colorado; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Lone Tree, Colorado; Los Angeles, California; Miami-Dade County, Florida; Madison, Wisconsin; Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota; Nashville, Tennessee; Portland, Oregon; Sacramento, California; San Jose, California; Seattle, Washington; and Washington, DC.

Nearly 60 cities applied to be a part of the Smart Cities Collaborative. The cities will work together, sharing information with each other and various experts in the transportation sector. Following that, the cities will create pilot programs, and the end results will be shared across the collaborative.

There won't be a $50 million grand prize at the end, but participating cities will receive "direct technical assistance." There couldn't be two companies better suited for that assistance. Transportation for America is a collection of business and civic leaders that want governments to push for smarter transportation solutions. Sidewalk Labs focuses on urban innovation, working to solve future issues in the housing, transportation and data-analysis fields.

The Smart Cities Collaborative will hold its first meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on November 9.