The City of Austin was selected as one of seven finalists cities poised to win up to $50 Million for mobility innovations by U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a ceremony at the C3 Connected Mobility Showcase during South by Southwest in Austin today.
Mayor Steve Adler and City leaders attended the announcement by Secretary Foxx, along with mayors representing other cities competing for the mobility innovation and technology grant.
Austin was among the 78 cities which applied for the DOT “Beyond Traffic: The Smart City Challenge.” One city will be awarded a $40 million grant to support technology-driven mobility solutions and up to $10 million from Vulcan Inc. to support the deployment of electric vehicles and other carbon emission reduction strategies. Austin will now compete for the $50 million winner-take-all prize to be announced in June.
“Austin possesses the spirit of innovation required to redefine mobility for the 21st century,” said Mayor Steve Adler. “No other city is better positioned than Austin to realize the potential of the Smart City initiative. Moreover, no U.S. city is in more need of innovation in transportation to address our most pressing challenges of mobility and affordability.”
City Manager Marc Ott looked ahead to the next round. “Austin is dedicated to developing transferable solutions by serving as a model, mentor, and catalyst for the smart city movement,” he said. “We have so many resources at our disposal, including our talented and visionary staff, our dedicated regional mobility partners, our thriving tech sector and our esteemed colleges and universities,” he said.
Austin Transportation Department Director Robert Spillar said he believes that Austin’s proposal embodies the goals set out by DOT. “We can improve mobility using technology and we will demonstrate how deploying smart, automated and connected technologies can give people of all ages and abilities a means to travel safer, cheaper, cleaner and more effectively in pursuit of their needs,” he said.
The Austin proposal is a regional effort with partners including the Texas Department of Transportation, the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the University of Texas, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, the Southwest Research Institute, the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, Travis County, and a growing number of private companies.