One of These US Cities Will Get $40 Million to Make Commutes Suck Less

A future of connected vehicles and better transit apps. Image: Portland’s Smart City Pitch

Earlier this year, seven cities were named as finalists for the Smart City Challenge, a chance to win $40 million from the US Department of Transportation to become a connected, automated city of the future. Today, the mayors of Austin, Columbus, Denver, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Portland, and San Francisco made their final arguments for why their city should get the cash.

To win, the cities need to show how they plan to integrate the most progressive transportation tech currently on the horizon: self-driving cars, connected vehicles, and smart sensors. After the seven finalists were named in March, each city was given $100,000 and government mentorship to hone their proposals. Cities also worked to recruit private sector partners and enlist matching funds from local organizations, so that $40 million will be doubled or tripled in some places. You can read summaries of all seven proposals and check out my story about San Francisco’s ambitious idea to solve its housing crisis with self-driving cars.


Here are all the pitches. (Warning: Pittsburgh’s made me tear up a little.) The winning city will be announced later this month.




Kansas City



San Francisco


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About the author

Alissa Walker

Alissa is the former urbanism editor at Gizmodo.