US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the “Smart City” grant finalists today at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas. SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin is on the right. (Courtesy Texas A&M Transportation Institute)

US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the “Smart City” grant finalists today at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas. SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin is on the right. (Courtesy Texas A&M Transportation Institute)

SF in running for $50M grant to technologically improve transportation network

San Francisco is among seven cities in the U.S. that could receive a federal grant to become the nation’s first to incorporate self-driving cars and other technological efforts into its transportation network.

Such a possibility drew an unusual guest to the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, over the weekend — Ed Reiskin, director of transportation for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, where he shared the potential future of The City’s transit system that could include more technology.

A $50 million transportation grant, courtesy of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge, could
bring those ideas to reality if awarded to The City.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx hosted a roundtable discussion called “Beyond Traffic: The Emergence of a Connected City” at South by Southwest on Sunday, flanked by representatives of the seven city finalists.

“The Smart City challenge has driven our cities to think ahead of the curve,” Reiskin said in a statement. “This support and recognition from the U.S. Department of Transportation is an honor for San Francisco.”

Now San Francisco must prove it has the best plan for creating a “smart” interactive transit network, utilizing public-private partnerships, and reducing greenhouse gases in the country in order to win the grant.

The $50 million The City might win from the federal government is intended to help the winner “become the country’s first city to fully integrate innovative technologies,” including self-driving cars, connected vehicles and smart sensors into their transportation network, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The remaining finalists also include Austin, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Kansas City, Mo.; Pittsburgh, Penn.; and Portland, Ore.

Last year, the SFMTA formed a new entity to conceive of future transit policy: The Office of Innovation, headed by staffer Timothy Papandreou.

The SFMTA said it was this office’s work which prepared them for the “Smart City” competition.

For instance, the office is considering potential frameworks for autonomous vehicle regulations in San Francisco.

Papandreou previously confirmed some of the 11 companies with autonomous vehicles are testing in San Francisco right now. Though Google’s small test car hasn’t come into San Francisco yet, he said, a Lexus autonomous car has rolled out on The City’s streets.

That’s just the start, though.

“A whole bunch of companies don’t exist that will be here in the coming years,” he recently told the San Francisco Examiner.

More future technology is also in the works, according to the SFMTA, including networking capability between self-driving cars, and new ways of linking so-called “shared” transit with public transit.

The seven city finalists will receive a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to further develop their proposals.

This second phase of the contest will herald a change in criteria, with the winning city selected based on its ability to “think big, and provide a detailed roadmap on how they will integrate innovative technologies to prototype the future of transportation in their city,” according to federal officials.

The winner of the challenge will be announced in June.
driverless cars Art: link - https://www.sfmta.com/about-sfmta/blog/advancing-mobility-innovation-sfmta-named-finalist-federal-smart-city-grantSan Francisco Municipal Transportation AgencySFMTATransit

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Gov. Gavin Newsom gave an update on COVID-19 cases on Thursday Nov. 3, 2020. (Examiner screenshot)
Newsom announces statewide stay-at-home order tied to availability of hospital beds

Order will take effect in Bay Area when intensive care unit capacity falls below 15 percent

Mayor London Breed said “I need to hold myself to a higher standard” in response to criticism of a recent meal at a Napa Valley restaurant. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Breed calls criticism for French Laundry trip ‘fair’

Mayor said she regrets that actions ‘distracted’ from public health message as COVID-19 cases rise

City Administrator Naomi Kelly said Wednesday that the allegations against her husband were “based on the word of a liar.” (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City Administrator Naomi Kelly takes leave after feds charge husband

High-ranking official under scrutiny over 2016 China trip

High school seniors Shayla and Kayla Bryant receive guidance from 100% College Prep around college admissions. (Courtesy photo)
High school seniors juggling college applications and distance learning

In a final year of high school spent largely online, seniors are… Continue reading

Lyft, owner of the Bay Wheels bikeshare program, stands to receive more than $300,000 in a legal settlement with The City. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Supervisors to weigh $330,000 settlement with Lyft over bikeshare dispute

If approved, deal would resolve an 18-month long legal battle over San Francisco’s e-bike market

Most Read