Smart Mobility Challenge : 2017 – 2019

And the winners are...Carnegie Mellon University’s Traffic21 Institute and its affiliated US DOT National University Transportation Center for Mobility, Mobility21, are sponsoring a challenge to demonstrate how innovative technology can improve mobility using southwestern Pennsylvania as a test bed.

This challenge is inspired by Traffic21’s years of successful collaboration with the City of Pittsburgh to become a globally recognized smart city test bed and the desire to demonstrate how suburban and rural communities can also benefit from innovative transportation technology. Here is a link to current and past projects.

How the Smart Communities Mobility Challenge Works

  • Municipalities Identify Mobility Needs
    Now through July 14, 2017
    Representatives of municipalities within the ten county Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC) region are encouraged to complete a brief online form identifying mobility needs with serious impacts on their citizens and businesses. Only official municipal representatives in the SPC region are eligible to apply.

    • Mobility challenges may include limited access to jobs, education and healthcare, limited visitor access for tourism, unhealthy vehicle emissions, barriers to efficient freight movement, etc.
    • Also through the online form, municipal representatives have an opportunity to explain why their municipality would be an ideal test bed for innovative research pilots. This might include partnerships, progressive leadership, existing technology infrastructure, collaboration with CMU faculty, etc.
    • A Smart Mobility Challenge information session will be held Wednesday June 28, 2017 at 2:00pm in 1202 Hamburg Hall, Carnegie Mellon University.Here’s the recorded video of the information session, in case you we unable to attend:


  • CMU Research Matched with Municipal Needs
    July 15 – August 20, 2017
    CMU researchers will review mobility needs submitted by the municipalities then propose cutting edge research and technology that might apply.
    Traffic21/Mobility21 staff will facilitate conversations between faculty and municipalities where research aligns with needs. If both parties can agree on a research pilot, a research project proposal will be invited. This might involve multiple municipalities and/or multiple faculty. Final invited research proposals must be submitted by CMU faculty by midnight August 20, 2017.
  • Proposal Evaluation
    August 21 – August 27, 2017 – Submitted research project proposals will be evaluated on; ability to demonstrate measurable improvement to mobility, innovative approach, level of community support, leveraging partnerships, future opportunity for full deployment of the research pilot and replicability. The Traffic21/Mobility21 Faculty Management Team, in consultation with staff and Challenge Partners, will award up to $300,000 to CMU faculty for winning research proposals. Two – four awards are expected.
  • Awards Ceremony
    First Week of September – A final awards announcement ceremony and reception will be held at Carnegie Mellon University. Invited guest may include municipal partners, faculty, students, elected and agency officials, Challenge Partners, sponsors and media.
  • Please contact Stan Caldwell with any questions. or 412-268-9505

Challenge Partners assisting in promoting the challenge and input on proposals include the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, the Regional Transportation Alliance of Southwestern Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Departments of Transportation and Community and Economic Development. These partners may also provide guidance and support to municipalities for further deployment of innovative ideas.

Special acknowledgement to the Hillman Foundation and the USDOT University Transportation Program for their support of Traffic21 and Mobility21.