In San Francisco's effort to become the recipient of a US Department of Transportation Smart City Challenge Grant, local private companies and technology firms are stepping up to the plate, pledging $150 million according to the SFMTA in order to win the grant and boost its impact.
The challenge issued is for "medium-sized cities" to use emerging technologies to disrupt traffic as we know it, and according to USDOT, the seven finalists are Austin, TX, Columbus, OH, Denver, CO, Kansas City, MO, Pittsburgh, PA, Portland, OR, and good 'ol Frisco, CA.
“The level of excitement and energy the Smart City Challenge has created around the country far exceeded our expectations,” US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx reportedly said. “After an overwhelming response - 78 applications total - we chose to select seven finalists instead of five because of their outstanding potential to transform the future of urban transportation.” San Francisco and all finalists received a $100,000 grant to further develop their proposals.
According the SFMTA, "About 70 companies, including Ford Motor Co., autonomous vehicle designer Zoox, and self-driving technology company Optimus Ride, have offered to support San Francisco’s vision with technological resources if the city is chosen as the winner." Their forces combined, the sum total of their investments would quadruple the $40 million Smart City award and its $10 million bonus, which comes from the firm of Paul Allen, Vulcan, a Seattle-based company with holdings from real estate to aerospace.
The grand designs of the SFMTA wouldn't be immediately felt, of course, taking a decade to implement. So far, ideas run the gamut from self-driving shuttle buses to municipal car share networks.