Kansas City applies for Smart City grant to test transportation innovations

kansas-city-244682The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Beyond Traffic, Smart City Challenge is a chance for one city to win $50 million to modernize and innovate infrastructure. And Kansas City thinks it’s up for the challenge.

The Kansas City Star reported that the city has submitted its application for a chance to win the grant that goes towards helping mid-sized cities with innovative transportation solutions. The city even has a new chief innovation officer in Bob Bennett who thinks the town would be a perfect fit to lead the country’s infrastructure advancement.

Bennett said that the town’s already leading the way in some aspects. Kansas City has a new downtown streetcar route and new kiosks, cameras and sensors across town to help with traffic flow. On top of that, Bennett said the city’s vast infrastructure network of highways gives more opportunities to expand innovative transportation solutions.

“It’s an advantage for us because we can take it farther and be a role model for other cities in the U.S.,” Bennett said.

The winning city of the Smart City Challenge will get $40 million from USDOT in order to implement new strategies to make transportation safer, easier and more reliable. On top of that, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has teamed up with USDOT through his charitable organization Vulcan Inc. in order to give an additional $10 million for the winning city to support electric vehicles.

The five finalists for the grant will be announced in the middle of March, with each city receiving $100,000 to work on their grant proposal. The winning city will be announced at some point during the summer of this year.