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Ohio State and City of Columbus join nationwide MetroLab Network

As further evidence of the region’s leadership in smart mobility, The Ohio State University and the City of Columbus recently joined the MetroLab Network, a collection of 35 city-university partnerships focused on bringing data, analytics, and innovation to local government. Members of the network research, develop, and deploy technologies and policy approaches to address challenges facing the nation’s urban areas.

MetroLab Network was launched by 21 founding city-university pairings in September 2015 at the White House as part of the Obama Administration’s Smart Cities Initiative. In March 2016, Columbus was named one of seven finalists for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge. Ohio State is playing a critical role in the city’s bid for the Smart City title and $50 million in funding that comes with it.

#SmartColumbusIn MetroLab Network’s city-university partnerships, the university serves as a research and development arm, and the city serves as a test-bed for technologies and policies. Faculty members and students gain access to real-world laboratories to develop and test tools and programs that utilize information technology, data analytics, sensing, and more. Cities benefit from their technical expertise, leading to solutions that reduce the cost of infrastructure and services, make cities more sustainable and resilient, and improve citizens’ quality of life. MetroLab Network members are working on more than 100 “research, development, and deployment” projects with broad impact on areas such as improving transportation and water systems, reducing the energy footprint in cities, and many more.

“Ohio State has enjoyed a long and productive relationship with the City of Columbus,” said College of Engineering Dean David B. Williams, “especially on initiatives requiring innovation to address challenges of rapidly growing communities. University research is an important economic driver, and this smart mobility collaboration will deliver great impact for Columbus and the entire Buckeye State.”

MetroLab Network connects these city-university partnerships via a national, collaborative platform that will facilitate the sharing of information and the scaling of technology and solutions across the country. 

By becoming members of MetroLab Network, the City of Columbus and Ohio State have signed a memorandum of understanding and agreed to undertake at least three research, development, and deployment projects

“The Ohio State University has been a critical partner in our Smart Columbus application, bringing unparalleled research and implementation experience to the table,” said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. “We look forward to more collaborative efforts with Ohio State through the MetroLab Network.”

Last week, representatives from Ohio State and the City of Columbus participated in MetroLab Network’s Spring Summit, hosted by the City of San Diego and the University of California, San Diego with support from Clean Tech San Diego.     

“We are thrilled to welcome Columbus and Ohio State to our network,” said Ben Levine, Interim Director of MetroLab Network. “Their focus on connected and autonomous vehicles and sustainable transportation will help drive progress in the cities and regions that are addressing similar issues across the country.”

MetroLab Network is supported by a $1 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation as a research enterprise that uses data and information technologies to better understand how cities work and to improve the urban condition. Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is the fiduciary of MetroLab Network during its incubation period.