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The Linden LEAP, Columbus' self-driving shuttle, helped residents in a disadvantaged neighborhood. Photo: Smart Columbus

Columbus, Ohio, was transformed by new mobility technology over the past five years after winning the coveted Smart Cities Challenge, and it plans to keep innovating after completion of the project.

What's happening: Dubbed Smart Columbus, the city says the mobility initiative will continue as "an agile, collaborative innovation lab" focusing on "what is new and next at the intersection of technology and community good."

The backstory: In 2016, Columbus won the hotly contested competition among U.S. cities for a $50 million award from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

  • Along with another $19 million in state and local funds, the city deployed a broad portfolio of emerging mobility technologies to show how safer, cleaner and more equitable transportation options could benefit communities.

Some examples:

  • The Linden LEAP, a self-driving shuttle, transported nearly 130,000 meals and 15,000 masks from St. Stephen’s Community House to neighbors in need during the pandemic.
  • The Pivot multimodal transportation planning app was downloaded more than 1,000 times during the pandemic to help travelers plan and pay for trips combining bus, ride-hailing, carpool, bikes, scooters, taxis and personal vehicles or bikes.
  • More than 1,000 connected vehicles could “talk” to each other and to 85 dangerous intersections, which improved emergency response times and slowed speeds in school zones.
  • At least 20,000 additional jobs and 3,000 additional health care services were accessible within 30 minutes for travelers originating at the Linden Transit Center in a disadvantaged neighborhood, an analysis showed.

What's next: Five of the eight grant-funded projects — Pivot, ParkColumbus, smart mobility hubs, the connected vehicle environment and the Smart Columbus Operating System — will continue past the term of the grant.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Laurene Powell Jobs' $3.5 billion climate campaign

Laurene Powell Jobs, president of Emerson Collective, is investing $3.5 billion in her new climate-action group, the Waverley Street Foundation — all to be spent in 10 years, as a way to show urgency on the issue.

  • Then the group will sunset.

The big picture: The foundation "will focus on initiatives and ideas that will aid underserved communities who are most impacted by climate change," an official tells Axios.

R. Kelly found guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking

Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Singer R. Kelly on Monday was found guilty of racketeering and eight counts of violating an anti-sex trafficking law, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Sexual misconduct allegations have surrounded R. Kelly's career, including a child sexual abuse image case in 2008 where he was acquitted. Multiple other victims have come forward to speak about the abuse in recent years.

German elections: After close result, jockeying to replace Merkel begins

Data: Preliminary results from German Federal Returning Officer; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) pulled off a come-from-behind victory in Sunday’s elections, 10 seats ahead of the Christian Democrats (CDU), which failed to finish top for the first time in 16 years.

State of play: SPD leader Olaf Scholz has said he’ll seek to form a government, but so too has Armin Laschet, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s successor as CDU leader.