Philadelphia Awarded $2 Million to Digitize City Streets

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PHILADELPHIA, PA — The City of Philadelphia announced it received an award on March 21, 2023 of $2 million in USDOT SMART grant funding for the Philadelphia Digital Right-of-Way and Mobility (ROW) Improvement Project. The project seeks to address two major City challenges: scarcity in right-of-way (ROW) space; and scarcity of information about ROW users. USDOT SMART grant funding will support digitizing street, sidewalk, and curbside space within the project area and developing an online application to communicate ROW information to ROW users.

“The City is thrilled to have been named an awardee of USDOT’s inaugural SMART Grants Program out of 59 projects across the country. Utilizing technology to ensure a more efficient use of the right-of-way will improve mobility for all Philadelphians equitably regardless of how they choose to travel,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “We are grateful to Senator Casey, the Open Mobility Foundation, and other partners for their support.”

This project builds upon ongoing City efforts, including SmartCityPHL’s “Smart Loading Zones” Pilot project launched in Fall 2022, which focuses on safe and efficient curb space solutions for delivery drivers. Furthermore, lessons from the demonstration are expected to promote a greater understanding of how data can be operationally institutionalized and used to improve curb usage on a national scale.

“This funding will allow the City more capacity to improve ROW management through data and technology,” said Akshay Malik, Smart Cities Director. “This project will help develop new data standards to map ROW in more detail and test new ways to digitally manage the ROW through a pilot in Center City, improving safety for drivers and pedestrians.”

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Philadelphia Streets Commissioner Carlton Williams added “The Streets Department is excited to be a recipient of the USDOT SMART Grant. We look forward to working with the City’s Office of Innovation and Technology (OIT) and Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability (OTIS) on implementing new strategies and technology to improve the City’s Right-of-Way systems.”

The City of Philadelphia has joined Boston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Portland, San Francisco, San José, and Seattle as well as Miami-Dade County in submitting collaborative applications towards this effort. Partners in this collaboration include: the Open Mobility Foundation (OMF), The Bloomberg Center for Cites at Harvard’s Kennedy (HKS), INFRIX, and Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA).

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