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U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx Announces Seven Finalist Cities for Smart City Challenge

Saturday, March 12, 2016

AUSTIN, TX – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, joined by Barbara Bennett, President and COO of Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc. and Rick Clemmer CEO of NXP Semiconductors, today announced seven finalists for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Smart City Challenge.  The USDOT has pledged up to $40 million (funding subject to future appropriations) to one city to help it define what it means to be a “Smart City “and become the country’s first city to fully integrate innovative technologies – self-driving cars, connected vehicles, and smart sensors – into their transportation network. 

The finalists are: Austin, TX; Columbus, OH; Denver, CO; Kansas City, MO; Pittsburgh, PA; Portland, OR; and San Francisco, CA. Secretary Foxx was joined by representatives of the seven city finalists, including Austin Mayor Steve Adler, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther, Kansas City Mayor Sly James, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, and Portland Mayor Charlie Hales for the announcement at the C3 Connected Mobility Showcase being held during the South by Southwest conference (SXSW).

“The level of excitement and energy the Smart City Challenge has created around the country far exceeded our expectations,” said Secretary Foxx. “After an overwhelming response – 78 applications total – we chose to select seven finalists instead of five because of their outstanding potential to transform the future of urban transportation.”

When the challenge was issued in December 2015, the Department’s launch partner, Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc., announced its intent to award up to $10 million to the winning city to support electric vehicle deployment and other carbon emission reduction strategies.

“The creativity and determination of the applicants to envision a greener future represents the best of American ingenuity. It is this kind of belief in the power of new ideas that drives Paul Allen’s commitment to solving some of the world’s greatest challenges,” said Barbara Bennett, President and COO of Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc. “As the Smart City Challenge's philanthropic partner, we hope to catalyze a transportation transformation across the country that will dramatically drive down emissions from this leading source of carbon pollution."

In addition to announcing the seven finalists, Secretary Foxx also announced a new Smart City Challenge partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS), a secure cloud services platform, which will provide solution architecture and best practices guidance to the finalists to help them leverage AWS services for Smart City solutions, as well as award $1 Million of credits to the Challenge winner for AWS Cloud services and AWS Professional Services. Furthermore, AWS will collaborate with U.S. DOT on efforts to engage the startup community, and bring their ideas to the finalists. The credits, support, and collaboration will help the winning city design and build a truly Smart City on the AWS Cloud.

In this second phase of the competition, the seven finalists will receive a $100,000 grant to further develop their proposals. Whereas the first phase called for a high-level overview, the winning city will be selected based on their ability to think big, and provide a detailed roadmap on how they will integrate innovative technologies to prototype the future of transportation in their city. The Department will work with each city to connect them with existing partnerships and support their final proposal with technical assistance.

Other partners that have already joined the Smart City Challenge include:

  • Mobileye

Mobileye will equip the winning city’s public bus system with their Mobileye's Shield +TMon every bus which helps bus drivers avoid and mitigate imminent collisions and protect road users including bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists.

  • Autodesk

Autodesk will provide InfraWorks 360 and finalists will get access to (and training on) Infraworks 360, a modeling platform that uses 3-D visualizations and real-world data to plan major engineering projects.

  • NXP

NXP will provide the contest’s winning city with wireless communication modules that allow cars to securely exchange data, such as hazard warnings, over distances of more than a mile to prevent accidents and improve traffic flow.

“Affecting transformative change in America’s transportation infrastructure is going to require innovative thinking and strong support from both the government and the private sector,” said Mobileye Co-Founder, CTO and Chairman Professor Amnon Shashua. “It’s fantastic to know these Smart City Challenge finalists are one-step closer towards truly impacting the transportation challenges their respective cities face and embracing forward-looking technology solutions like  Mobileye. Working alongside the U.S. Department of Transportation and Secretary Foxx on this Challenge allows us to deliver the safer city of the future we all want and we couldn’t be more pleased to be involved in such an important project.”

"A single mission and a collaboration on bold and disruptive ideas put a man on the moon, not one technology or lone effort," said Amar Hanspal, Senior Vice President, Autodesk. "We applaud Transportation Secretary Foxx for challenging our cities to reimagine themselves with transportation at their core. Autodesk's design, visualization and analysis technologies will help the finalists and their partners in their quest to achieve smarter, more sustainable cities. "

“NXP is pleased to partner with the USDOT as a provider of vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2X) technology for this truly innovative program,” said NXP CEO and President Rick Clemmer. “We aim to deliver secure connections for a smarter world, and the Smart City Challenge aligns perfectly with this mission. We look forward to seeing the innovative ways the contest’s winning community will apply and leverage this life-saving NXP technology.”

The Department developed the Smart City Challenge as a response to the trends identified in the Beyond Traffic draft report. The report, issued last year, revealed that our nation’s aging infrastructure is not equipped to deal with a dramatically growing population in regions throughout the country.  It also identified a need to increase mobility options in developing megaregions – specifically mid-sized cities.

The winning city will be announced in June 2016. To view the list of cities that submitted applications for the Smart City Challenge or explore Smart City Challenge partnership opportunities, visit



Foxx also announces new partnership with Amazon Web Services