John Tolley, March 6, 2018

From New Brunswick to Lincoln, Minneapolis to Bloomington, there is no shortage of symbiosis between the universities of the Big Ten and the cities they call home. They shape each other, drive each other to new heights and provide one another with crucial resources.

Nowhere is that more evident than in Columbus, home to The Ohio State University. A city like no other, Columbus is a hub of culture and commerce that sets the stage for the ground-breaking work Buckeyes are doing in a number of fields.

Recently the city was awarded $50 million in grants as winner of the Smart City Challenge, a nationwide competition sponsored by the US Department of Transportation to find a civic incubator for the next generation of connected transportation technology.

And, who, you ask, is Columbus? lead research partner on an initiative of this magnitude? Ohio State, of course. Faculty, students and staff are engaging in smart cities research with the goal of transforming the way people move around and interface with the campus and city.

The initiative has even spurred the creation of a student group, the Smart Campus Organization, which pulls together undergrad and graduate students from an array of backgrounds to focus on how the university?s efforts can best benefit Columbus and vice versa.

In an October, 2017 profile of the group on the Ohio State Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering?s website, Smart Campus leader Daniel Freudiger elaborated on how the breadth of disciplines covered by group members is one of its greatest strengths.

?The main thing we look for in a new student,? Freudiger disclosed, ?is the ability take off their ?blinders? and look at the big picture. I think too often students have the tendency to keep their head down and only focus on their particular research area. The beauty of building a smart campus is that it encompasses so many different academic areas. The ability of our students to visualize how all these diverse pieces fit together for the betterment of the university is crucial to the success of the organization.?

Recently, Smart Campus, in conjunction with Smart Columbus and Ohio State?s Transportation Research Center, Center for Automotive Research and Technology Commercialization Office, held a talk to get students excited about the movement and thinking about how they can contribute. The emphasis was on looking to technologies that will equalize mobility in the city while reducing overall congestion and facilitating a much cleaner environment.

To learn more about how Smart Campus and Smart Columbus are working to make a city that works well for all residents, follow the link above and here.