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By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA

Columbus, Ohio, is the winner of a $50 million federal Smart City Challenge grant to redesign its transportation system. The selection was so widely reported in the media before the U.S. Department of Transportation’s official June 23 announcement that the agency began its release by saying, “So by now, you’ve heard.”

The Smart City Challenge was launched in December as an innovative competition to reimagine how people and goods move about urban areas by reshaping their transportation systems through technology, data and creativity.

The Columbus proposal calls for installing street-side mobility kiosks, a new bus-rapid transit system, and smart lighting to increase safety for pedestrians and improve access to healthcare in traditionally underserved neighborhoods. It also includes using traffic signals that communicate with vehicles so that the signals can adjust in real-time to the flow, rhythm, and demands of traffic.

Earlier in the week, the agency said the federal government, in collaboration with support from Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc., will still support the other six finalist cities move forward with their proposed transportation innovations. The other cities are Austin, Texas; Denver; Kansas City, Mo.; Pittsburgh, Portland, Ore.; and San Francisco.

Watch the seven finalists’ video pitches.