Amid a Transit Makeover, Fears of Getting Left Behind

In June 2016, the city scored a $50 million jackpot promising to transform Columbus’ mobility landscape, beating 77 other cities for the Smart City Challenge. Funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation and Vulcan Inc., the competition called on leaders of mid-sized metros to use new technologies to improve mobility around the city and its quality of life. Part of the winning Columbus proposal was a vision of connecting low-income South Linden residents with better means of accessing medical care, jobs, and education. This was a novel model—a transit revamp aimed at saving lives, not just commute time. A central aim: reduce infant mortality by 40 percent by 2020, the city’s existing goal.