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City of Baltimore partners with University of Maryland for the USDOT Smart City Challenge

City of Baltimore partners with University of Maryland for the USDOT Smart City Challenge

The National Transportation Center at the University of Maryland (NTC@Maryland) provided primary assistance to the City of Baltimore in its submission of the B’Smart proposal for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Beyond Traffic” Smart City Challenge competition.  The B’Smart proposal was submitted on February 04, 2016 and is now being released for the public to view.

Through the Smart City Challenge, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) solicited proposals from cities nationwide to develop next-generation technological innovations that address a variety of transportation challenges.  Cities will compete to receive up to $40 million in federal funding for developing ‘smart’ ideas that will make transportation safer, convenient and more reliable.  In addition, the Smart City Challenge encourages cities to develop public-private partnerships to reduce energy use and emissions, and is partnering with Vulcan Philanthropy to provide up to $10 million in additional funding to the winning jurisdiction.

NTC@Maryland led the technical proposal effort that included contributions from several additional University of Maryland units including the National Center for Smart Growth, Center for Advanced Transportation Technology, Maryland Cybersecurity Center, and Energy Research Center. In total, 52 public-sector, private-sector, and non-profit partners supported the B’Smart proposal.

The City of Baltimore and its partners have developed a comprehensive approach toward the goal of “Connecting Communities to Opportunities”. At its core are the Smart Community Hubs, where traditional transit services meet smart mobility services, enabled by connected/automated/electric vehicles and the sharing economy, to provide low-cost options to connect users to transit hubs and final destinations. These hubs will also house electric vehicle and smart grid infrastructure, public Internet/Wi-Fi/Smart phone portals, next-generation city logistics operations, on-site job training opportunities and additional features that will attract new businesses and spur economic development.

NTC@Maryland Director, Professor Lei Zhang of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is especially proud that, “The Baltimore proposal includes a series of innovative smart city solutions in this proposal specifically designed for low-income communities, such as connected V2V/V2X-enabled mesh networks offering free Wi-Fi access to the West Baltimore community, low-cost automated mobility service for hub connection and accessibility, wayfinding tools for elderly and disabled citizens, low-income credits in sharing economy ecosystems, new jobs from technology implementation, and many more. Another strength of the proposal stems from the connected and automated port concept, supported by crowd-sourced freight solutions at the Port of Baltimore and Smart Community Hubs.        

The B’Smart proposal has enabled Baltimore City to create potential partnerships with major electronic corporations and automobile manufactures, as well as smaller startup companies. These partnerships will focus on Intelligent Transportation Systems, automation, connected vehicles, smart infrastructure, urban analytics, electric vehicles, smart grid, freight movement, and other innovative elements which are outline in the B’Smart Proposal.

The US Department of Transportation will select five finalists in this nationwide competition on March 12, 2016 and is expected to announce the final winner in June 2016.

The full proposal can be found here: view





March 4, 2016

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