Crazy Good News. Now Let’s Challenge Ourselves.

Ten days ago Columbus received some crazy good news. Some much deserved validation. Columbus is one of seven finalist for the USDOT SmartCity challenge.  It’s great to be in the company of these six other cities.

Now the work begins. I want us to win. But the truth is the $100,000 might be as important than the $40 million.

Here’s why. Columbus needed this challenge. We needed a push. Even if we lose the contest (which we shouldn’t- we’re a perfect choice, USDOT I hope you’re listening), I hope we take this phase of the process to organize ourselves.

I’m excited to start the hard work. Columbus must confront our coming rapid population increases. We must work together quickly to put forward bold, data-driven ideas to improve lives by making transportation safer, easier, and more reliable. We’ll need to put details to our ideas. Fast.

But we can and we will.

I believe this $100,000 will force us to confront our transportation demons. And we’ve got them. This challenge is about using data technology, and creativity to shape how people and goods are moved. It’s about solutions that lessen demand on transportation infrastructure.*

The solutions included in our proposal will not solve all our transportation problems, but they surely will spark us to do more. I do hope we continue our discussion on light rail, BRT or streetcars. I hope we think about how this $40 million might fit in the bigger picture. I hope we challenge ourselves and each other.  But most importantly, I hope we use the $100,000 as a launching pad for a truly connected Columbus.

-Elissa Schneider, Chair Transit Columbus

*Speaking of….see our blog post on the Transit Pass Program. It’s just good math!

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