Smart Columbus spent $50 million on transportation. What worked and what’s next?

Smart Columbus hasn’t gone away. After spending $50 million in grant money on everything from vehicle charging stations to a transit app to driverless vehicles, the group is now focusing on digital equity.

“That’s more of a focus than ever,” said Jordan Davis, Smart Columbus executive director.

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed what is lacking in terms of broadband inequities and basic services for low-income residents, Davis said.

Becoming a more prosperous city means bringing along everyone else, she said.

“We need to build a new ecosystem here,” Davis said, including getting more people connected for online learning and telehealth, and to social services so care can be delivered faster and monitored.

So now much of the Smart Columbus focus is on initiatives so more people have access to technology.