The Power of Data


Data is among the most powerful, under-utilized, and incompletely understood forces in social problem solving. The time has come to wrap our arms around it, redefine it, and find its full potential for driving better human outcomes. Used well, data will help us along the pathway to large-scale change that can address the huge social needs of individuals and communities.

Kim Syman, Managing Partner, New Profit, writing for Fast Company


Today it seems there’s “smart” everything. Smart phones. Smart homes. Smart toasters. Smart cities. But what makes something “smart”?

It’s data. Data, applied to a challenge, to create a better outcome. To identify trends. To anticipate problems. To devise new solutions.

Data makes us smart, but we believe that Smart is Just the Start. When we apply data to the challenges we experience as a city, we can transform. Transform current outcomes in education, employment, healthcare and even access to healthy food. And when we can transform these outcomes, we can transform our way of life.

We have a vision to empower our residents to live their best lives through responsive, innovative and safe mobility solutions. And it begins with data. It begins here. Welcome to the Smart Columbus Operating System (SCOS).

The SCOS is envisioned as a web-based, dynamic, governed data delivery platform built on an interoperable architecture that is at the heart of the Smart Columbus technology system. It will accept and disseminate data from new transportation systems within the Smart Columbus portfolio, including multimodal services and connected and autonomous vehicles. It will also make data accessible from traditional transportation resources, as well as community partners such as food pantries and medical services.

The SCOS platform will play a critical role in helping our city understand and analyze data, in order to address complex urban challenges. In this new, data-rich environment, Columbus, its residents, businesses, nonprofits and visitors will be increasingly able to share, use and leverage previously unavailable or hard to find datasets to address complex problems and improve current operations and capabilities. Applications of the data will help serve the needs of public agencies, researchers and entrepreneurs and assist health, human services organizations and other agencies provide more effective services to their clients. Furthermore, we’ll be better able to measure the performance of intelligent transportation systems and quantify the impact of the Smart Columbus grant initiatives.

The SCOS will embody open-data, best-of-breed technologies including open-source and commercial off-the-shelf concepts that enable better decision making and problem solving for all users. It will support a portable, replicable, extensible, sustainable data delivery platform. It will be scalable, and demonstrate the potential for serving city and private sector needs well beyond the life of the Smart City Challenge grant period.

We invite you to help Columbus realize the power of data in transforming mobility. Download a dataset and identify its creative applications. Contribute data that can unlock the answers to problems we face. Harness our data to develop an app or mobility service that connects people or disrupts the way we get from Point A to Point B.

Together, let’s realize the power of data. Together, let’s transport our city to the future.