Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Transportation teamed with Vulcan Philanthropy to initiate the Smart City Challenge. The Challenge – intended to attract mid-sized cities with populations between 200,000 and 850,000 – has lofty goals of harnessing technology to revolutionize transportation, dramatically improving safety and mobility, while reducing costs and environmental impacts. And, if those goals aren’t enough to induce participation, the winner will be awarded $50 million to implement its smart initiative.

The Challenge seeks to promote a number of transportation-related and job growth initiatives falling within three categories including “Technology Elements” such as urban automation, connected vehicles, and intelligent, sensor-based infrastructure, “Innovative Approaches to Urban Transportation Elements” including user-focused mobility services, urban analytics, delivery and logistics, smart grids, and connected citizens, as well as “Smart City Elements” comprising architecture standards, low-cost, efficient, secure & resilient ICT, and smart land use initiatives.

In March, seven finalists were selected and last week, the finalists were required to submit their updated and final applications – with the winner to be announced this month. Stayed tuned or should I say, stay connected!

For more information about the Challenge and the finalists’ applications, see the U.S. Department of Transportation’s website here.