US embrace ‘smart’ concepts
The United States is exploring possibilities of rebuilding its cities as Smart Cities and started a competition to select a few to be developed as models for replication. The US Department of Transportation said it was “blown away” by the…

The United States is exploring possibilities of rebuilding its cities as Smart Cities and started a competition to select a few to be developed as models for replication.

The US Department of Transportation said it was “blown away” by the submissions to its Smart City Challenge, a competition pitting cities against each other in pursuit of $50 million in funding to boost their towns’ intelligences.

Seventy-eight cities submitted proposals, and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has finally announced the finalists. They include Austin (Texas), Columbus (Ohio), Denver (Colorado), Kansas City (Missouri), Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania), Portland (Oregon) and San Francisco (California).

Foxx said these cities are “beginning to think anew about how transportation can once again be the driving force of the American economy.”

The entries including things like adding wireless transmitters for vehicle-to-infrastructure communications. These technologies would allow cars to talk to each other and to the city infrastructure itself, alerting each other of inclement weather conditions, bad traffic and road closures, even enabling law enforcement personnel to selectively disable traffic lights to ease access to emergency situations.

Each of the finalists will receive $100,000 in funding to help refine and finalize their proposals before the final selection process begins. The winner will receive $40 million in funding from the federal government, with a further $10 million coming from Vulcan Philanthropy.

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