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03 June 2016



USDOT Smart City Challenge explained

First publishedITS America
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Mark Dowd
Mark Dowd

Mark Dowd, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, US Department of Transportation, will join keynote speaker Frank DiGiammarino of Amazon Web Services (AWS) on stage at 2:00pm on Wednesday, June 15 in Grand Ballroom 220A of McEnery Convention Centre to close out ITS America 2016 San Jose. Dowd, who serves as the senior advisor to US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, has extensive policy experience in transportation, technology, energy and environmental matters, and is leading a number of innovative initiatives including the Department’s Smart City Challenge, which will be focus of his remarks.

The Department developed the Smart City Challenge as a response to the trends identified in its Beyond Traffic 2045 report issued in 2015. The report revealed that America’s aging infrastructure is not equipped to deal with a dramatically growing population in regions throughout the country. It also identified a need to increase mobility options in developing megaregions, specifically mid-sized cities.

In March 2016, Secretary Foxx announced the seven city finalists—Pittsburgh (PA), Columbus (OH), Austin (TX), Denver (CO), San Francisco (CA), Portland (OR) and Kansas City (MO)—which were selected from a pool of 78 applications. Each of the finalist cities was awarded a $100,000 grant to further develop their proposals. The first phase of the Challenge called for a high-level overview of each city’s plan to tackle transportation challenges. In order to help them reach their ambitious goals, the Department has been working with the cities to connect them with existing partnerships that support their final proposals with technical assistance. As one of seven official Challenge partners, AWS — the Department’s cloud service partner — will provide solution architecture and best practices guidance to the finalists to help them leverage AWS services for Smart City solutions, as well as award $1 million of credits to the Challenge winner for AWS Cloud services and AWS Professional Services.

The winning city, which will be announced in June, will be selected based on its ability to provide a detailed roadmap on how it will integrate new technologies to demonstrate what the future of transportation can look like in action while indicating how their plans will reach different demographics across the city, ensuring that people from all areas, levels of income and degrees of physical ability will enjoy the benefits of living in a “Smart City.” The winner of the Challenge will receive up to $40 million from the Department to help create a fully integrated, first-of-its-kind city that uses data, technology and creativity to shape how people and goods move in the future. For more information on the Smart City Challenge, visit www.transportation.gov/smartcity.

Before joining the Department of Transportation, Dowd was a senior member of President Obama’s Auto Task Force where he worked on the historic restructuring of General Motors and Chrysler from 2009 to 2011. He received the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Gold Medal as well as awards from the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and the US Attorney’s Office (Southern District) for his work on the bankruptcies. More recently, Dowd served as a senior advisor to both the White House Council on Environmental Quality in 2012 and the Hurricane Sandy Task Force in 2013. Prior to joining the Department, he was a director and assistant general counsel at the Association of Global Automakers from June 2013 to June 2015.

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