PNT Roundup: Columbus discovers — and implements — smart city solutions

October 24, 2017  - By
Visitors to the Smart Columbus Experience Center will learn how Vehicle to Everything (V2X) Technology allows cars to communicate with each other as well as with intelligent traffic infrastructure to keep mobility safe and efficient. (Image: NXP USA)

Image: NXP USA

Columbus, Ohio, has positioned itself smartly for an autonomous future, taking a lead role in pilot projects on infrastructure and autonomous air and road transport.

The city will draw on up to $40 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation, $10 million from Vulcan, Inc,. and $500 million in local private pledges.

Carla Bailo, assistant vice president for mobility research and business development at Ohio State University (OSU), presented the city’s ambitious program at ION GNSS+.

In “Position, Navigation and Timing — An Enabling Technology for Mobility and Smart Cities,” she focused on a triple-zero target: zero accidents and fatalities, zero carbon footprint and zero stress.

Smart Columbus will put six autonomous shuttle buses in the commercial district, coordinate truck platooning, time deliveries and manage parking to reduce congestion, and undertake drone delivery of medical supplies and other critical needs. Multimodal transit apps, mobility assistance for those with disabilities and pedestrian collision avoidance will be based on real-time data on transit options and availability, as well as traffic information, road and weather conditions.

Position, navigation and timing (PNT) technologies play a central role in smart cities: vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, autonomous navigation and collision avoidance, location-based services and smart, resilient infrastructure.

Smart Columbus envisions the city as a center for high-tech transportation research and innovation. OSU’s partnerships with mobility companies and vehicle manufacturers, industry groups and government agencies contribute to the city’s comprehensive approach to the smart city project. Through its expertise in sensors, communication, PNT, transportation, autonomous and connected vehicles, and geospatial science and engineering, OSU will serve as the lead researcher on Smart Columbus.

Dorota Grejner-Brzezinska, OSU professor and frequent contributor to GPS World, in her new role as associate dean for research at OSU’s College of Engineering will be a key participant in research projects on ways to integrate self-driving cars, deliver high-definition 3D maps and metadata, use sensors to better connect vehicles for safety and efficiency, and find better ways to move people around the city when they don’t have access to a car.

About the Author:

Alan Cameron is editor-in-chief and publisher of GPS World magazine, where he has worked since 2000. He also writes the monthly GNSS Insights column for the weekly Navigate! e-newsletter.

2 Comments on "PNT Roundup: Columbus discovers — and implements — smart city solutions"

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  1. This plan’s goal are commendable and thought provoking. I, being a recent graduate of The Ohio State’s University’s College of Natural Resources specializing on climate change, think it would help the goal/plan to have someone with a serious interest in what IS a major problem our city and the world need to focus on tackling, excessive amounts of CO2 in our atmosphere.
    While, mass transit has been a major topic of consideration within our city and our state for decades, I believe a plan that at least begins to lay down some infrastructure or future renovations with the hopes of someday having a complete 0 emissions mass transit system in one form or another is critical.

    • Christian Hodges says:


      I think their first priority will be achieving zero accidents and fatalities in a mass transit setting. This objective is more realistic to achieve and the benefits will be seen / felt much more quickly than a lengthy plan to reduce carbon footprint to zero.

      Don’t get me wrong, the idea of zero emissions is worth making an effort to achieve….But the idea of zero accidents and fatalities will be much much more likely to receive the funding and attention of the Auto industry.


      Christian Hodges

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