Department of Transportation to provide $165M to make U.S. cities smarter

At the White House Frontiers Conference in Pittsburgh today, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced new funds that will help it roll out smart city technologies in places across the U.S., as part of the White House’s Smart Cities Initiative. $165 million in funding, including $65 million in public funding made available through two new grants, and $100 million in matching funds targeted for advanced transportation tech will help push the Smart Cities Initiative forward in cities including Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Houston, Los Angeles, Buffalo and Marysville.

The funds are designed to help pay for solutions that ease traffic congestion and also improve driver and pedestrian safety. Pittsburgh will get $11 million through the program to install smart traffic lights, for instance, and Denver will get $6 million towards use of connected vehicles to mitigate traffic during commutes. Around $8 million in grants is also now available for the specific purpose of building on-demand mobility, including car sharing, demand-based dynamic buses and bike sharing into their existing public transit networks.

The DOT is working with many partners in pursuit of its Smart City goals, including Alphabet subsidiary Sidewalk Labs. This funding all seems to be focused on implementation of programs to supplement existing public infrastructure, however, while Sidewalk Labs is currently looking to essentially privates a number of municipal service concerns in a more ambitious, far-reaching program it’s pitched to a number of cities participating in the Smart City Challenge initiative.