Smart Mobility Challenge : 2019 – 2020

And the winners are...Carnegie Mellon University’s Traffic21 Institute and its affiliated US DOT National University Transportation Center, Mobility21, are inviting representatives of municipalities and public transit operators in southwestern PA to request research assistance by submitting their real-world mobility problem to be considered for the Second Smart Mobility Challenge. It is anticipated that 2 – 3 problems will be selected, and the research will be conducted from July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020.

This request 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 a similar collaboration.

The first Smart Mobility Challenge was held from 2017 – 2018, and included research done in collaboration with Millvale, McKees Rocks, Bethel Park, Greensburg, Mt. Lebanon, Dormont, Cranberry Township and Lawrence County.  Learn more about the first challenge here.

Challenge Partners assisting in promoting this challenge include PennDOT, the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission. These partners may also provide guidance and support to municipalities for further deployment of innovative ideas.

This year’s challenge is leveraging the Carnegie Mellon University’s Mobility Data Analytics Center (MAC) which collects, integrates and learns from massive amounts of mobility data and contributes to the development of smarter multi-modal and multi-jurisdictional transportations systems.  MAC provides a centralized data engine that allows for data fusion and analytics for organization, visualization, and analytics of a wide array of mobility data.  Click here to learn more about MAC’s services.

MAC will use the real-world mobility problems that are identified and chosen through this call to continue to refine their research, while providing data, analytics, and recommendations for the municipality’s problem. Proposed problems should fall into one of the following areas:

  1. Evaluate network impact, safety and cost/benefit analysis of road closure, curb management, new development or other transportation improvement projects including complete street projects, public right of way permit system; optimize traffic mitigation plans for roadway construction projects.
  2. Real-time prediction of infrastructure usage and recommending optimal pricing strategies (i.e. park-n-ride facility usage, parking occupancy, bus ridership).
  3. Evaluate and recommend improvements to emergency response.
  4. Evaluate the impact of public transit/shuttle/microtransit/first mile last mile routing/services and fare changes.

Please note, there is no cash award/grant to the municipality or public transit operator. The funding supports faculty and students in applying cutting edge data analytical tools to real-world mobility problems submitted as part of this request. The municipality or public transit operator will be updated throughout the project and receive a final written and verbal report.

Who is Eligible to Submit a Real-world Mobility Problem for Consideration

Any municipality or public transit operator in southwestern Pennsylvania – Allegheny (outside the City of Pittsburgh), Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington and Westmoreland counties is eligible to apply.

Submission Process

The process is simple.  We just need your contact information, your problem, a description of the data you already have available to help address this problem (if any), and why your municipality or public transit operation would be a good test bed for this type of research support.  All requests MUST be submitted through the on-line web form by 5:00 PM on Friday, March 29, 2019.

Review & Selection Process

Problems will be reviewed for relevance to the interest areas described on the previous page, the kind/availability of data to answer the problem, and the academic strengths of the MAC team at the time of decision making.

It is anticipated that 2 – 3 problems will be selected.


  • March 29, 2019 – Requests for assistance due.
  • April 30, 2019 – Winning mobility problems selected.
  • May/June 2019 – Kick-off meetings will be conducted between MAC staff and the municipal or public transit operator representative.
  • July 1, 2019 – Project begins.
  • December 2019/January 2020 – Project mid-point check-in meetings will be conducted between MAC staff and the municipal or public transit operator representative.
  • June 30, 2020 – Project ends.
  • July 2020 – Project completion meetings will be conducted between MAC staff and the municipal or public transit operator representative.

Want to talk with us about your Assistance with Real-world Mobility problems” before you submit?  We are here to help.