Columbus, Ohio is the fastest growing city in the Midwest. When officials evaluated what the future held for their city, they decided that providing equitable access to it’s public transportation system would go a long way towards fixing the headaches such as poverty, unemployment, high infant mortality, traffic accidents, and congestion that have plagued Columbus.
City officials realized, however, that solving Columbus’ transport problems would require an integrated, big data platform to guide the city’s development into a Smart City that could use improved mobility to provide access to jobs, healthcare, and other services. The data platform would form the basis for a city-wide public-private data management infrastructure called the Smart Columbus Operating System (SCOS).
Advanced technologies like electric vehicles (EVs) and digital traffic control will be integrated into the SCOS. These technologies are seen improving safety for both motorists and pedestrians, make parking easier and more efficient, widen opportunities for those previously unserved by the city’s transportation system, and reduce the environmental impacts of transportation activities. One key improvement expected is a reduction in infant mortality which could be attributed to improved access to prenatal healthcare. Columbus’ infant mortality rate of nine per thousand is one of the worst in the entire United States. Babies born to black parents are three times more likely to die than those born to white parents in Columbus.
Columbus asked for bids for the data platform which was to be designed and constructed according to the Agile Method. The project was supposed to be up and running in three years. Bid acceptance ended last February 13 and Columbus is supposed to announce the winner in March prior to an April project kickoff.
According to the Columbus’ RFP:
The SCOS is envisioned as a web-based, dynamic, governed data delivery platform built on a federated architecture that is at the heart of the Smart Columbus system. It will ingest and disseminate data while providing access to data services from multiple sources and tenants, including the planned Smart Columbus technologies, traditional transportation data, and data from other community partners, such as food pantries and medical services. The SCOS will embody open-data, best-of-breed technologies including open-source and commercial off-the-shelf concepts that enable better decision-making and problem solving for all users. It will support a replicable, extensible, sustainable data delivery platform. The SCOS will be the source for performance metrics for program monitoring and evaluation; serve the needs of public agencies, researchers and entrepreneurs; and assist health, human services organizations and other agencies in providing more effective services to their clients.
There are no dollar figures associated with the project yet. It is also not yet known if payment for the construction and deployment of the integrated data platform would be by lump sum or a Cost-plus-fixed-fee basis. Columbus won $50 million in grant money 2016 after it beat out other cities in the federal Smart City Challenge. There is no definite spending plan announced yet about the grant money.