In 2016, Columbus, Ohio beats 77 other small and medium cities in the United States $50 million in a pot That is to reshape its future.Ministry of Transport Smart city challenge This is the first game of its kind, and is conceived as an advance payment that initiates a city’s adaptation to new technologies that are suddenly ubiquitous.Taxi companies, such as Uber with elevator rise, Car sharing companies such as Car2Go Are improving their national image, and Self-driving car It seems to be just around the corner.

“The approach we have proposed is revolutionary,” the city wrote in its award-winning grant proposal, which promises to focus on projects that help the city’s most underserved communities. It has developed plans to test Wi-Fi-enabled kiosks to help residents plan their trips, apps to pay for bus and hail fares, and to find parking spaces, automated shuttles, and sensor-connected trucks.

Five years later, the smart city challenge was over, but the revolution never came. According to the city’s Smart Columbus Project’s final report on the project released this month, the pandemic happened just as some projects were launched. Between July 2020 and March 2022, the six kiosks around the city were only used to plan eight trips. The EasyMile company launched an automated shuttle in February 2020 to transport passengers at an average speed of 4 miles per hour.Fifteen days later, the brakes suddenly Send the rider to the hospital,service paused. The truck project was cancelled. Only 1,100 people downloaded an app called Pivot, which was used to plan and book rides, shared bicycles and scooters, and public transportation.

The difference between the promise of amazing technology and the reality of Columbus shows that technology is no longer a panacea, and there is a new vigilance about the troubles web-based applications can cause to the streets of IRL. “Smart city” is an indefinable marketing term related to urban optimism.Today, as citizens more carefully consider technical support Monitor, The concept of sensors in every family does not look as shiny as before.

Despite this, Columbus officials insisted that the smart city project did not fail. In fact, the final report said that the project was a success. Now Columbus wants to reconsider this slippery term.

“It shouldn’t be a competition for who has more sensors or something like that. I think we were a bit distracted at some point,” said Jordan Davis, director of Smart Columbus, the organization responsible for continuing the challenge. . Some challenging projects will continue. Davis said the focus will be, “How do we use technology to improve the quality of life, solve community equity issues, mitigate climate change, and realize the prospects of the region?”

Looking back to 2015, the technical solution goal of the challenge made sense. The future is coming very quickly, and the Ministry of Transportation hopes that its seed funding can help medium-sized cities like Columbus to cooperate with the company, plan ahead, and take equity into account. When choosing the city, the department expressed its impression of the number of local companies that promised to provide additional support for the project. The challenge is to “use…advanced tools to improve the lives of all people, especially those living in underserved communities,” said then Secretary of State Anthony Fox. (He is now Lyft’s chief policy officer.)

It is now clear that private companies cannot predict the future of the city and may not take their best interests into consideration. Davis said that Columbus’s choice led to the company’s numerous proposals, which ultimately proved difficult to manage and “sometimes distracting.”At the same time, Uber (and Lyft) has Quit self-driving cars, Especially after Uber tests the vehicle Killed a pedestrian in Arizona. The Google Brothers Sidewalk Labs promised in 2017 Build a sensory future community in Toronto.but It killed the project last year In the pandemic and fierce political battles with privacy advocates, local groups and developers.

Nevertheless, smart city projects continue to be carried out all over the world.Toyota Building a community friendly to self-driving cars Outside Tokyo. Sidewalk Labs just announced It is advising real estate developers Implement “Innovation Programs” in a few American cities.with “Smart Transportation” project led by Alibaba Continue to develop business in China, Malaysia and Macau.

Finally, Columbus’s smart city revolution may have been too ambitious from the start. Harvey Miller, professor of geography and director of the Ohio State University Center for Urban and Regional Analysis, helped plan and evaluate this challenge. He said: “Many people have high expectations for this project, maybe Too high.” He pointed out that 50 million US dollars (40 million US dollars from the federal government, 10 million US dollars from the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s Vulcan Inc.) is not a lot of money, especially in five years. The industry’s commitment to the imminent self-driving car has been exaggerated, and it is not Columbus’s fault.

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