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CMU’s Traffic21 Announces Smart Mobility Challenge Winners

By Michael Cunningham

Over $400,000 Awarded to Pilot Smart Mobility Technology Deployments throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania Communities.

In June of 2017, Carnegie Mellon University’s Traffic21 Institute and Mobility21 National University Transportation Center, interdisciplinary research centers at the forefront of developing and deploying smart transportation technologies, issued the Smart Mobility Challenge. The centers sought to work with local municipalities to research and pilot solutions to specific mobility challenges, with the goal of transforming southwestern Pennsylvania into a test bed for mobility innovation.

Through the challenge, Traffic21, housed in the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy, and Mobility21, housed in the College of Engineering, encouraged municipalities within the 10-county Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC) region to identify mobility needs affecting their citizens. The research centers received 26 submissions from eight counties, and then matched selected submissions with CMU faculty members pursing innovative mobility research.

The scope and innovative nature of the submissions were so vital to the region that Traffic21 and Mobility21 awarded over $400,000 to the winning municipalities, rather than the $300,000 the centers had initially planned to distribute.

Five CMU faculty teams were awarded over $400,000 to support eight municipalities from four counties throughout the region. These include Bethel Park, Cranberry, Dormont, Greensburg, Neshannock, McKees Rocks, Millvale and Mt. Lebanon.  Additional details regarding the challenge and awards can be found at Traffic21's website.

“We are thrilled to receive such a robust response from forward-thinking municipal leaders,” said Ramayya Krishnan, Dean of Heinz College. “This speaks to the mobility challenges faced by our communities, the willingness of municipalities to tackle them directly, and the potential of deploying technological solutions grown right in our own backyard.”

“At CMU, we have seen many of our research pilot deployments adopted at scale and commercialized,” said James Garrett, Jr., Dean of the College of Engineering. “We expect that this challenge will produce continued success in advancing our region as a global leader in smart mobility.”

Local community partners in this challenge include the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, the Regional Transportation Alliance of Southwestern Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Departments of Transportation and Community and Economic Development

The Smart Mobility Challenge awards were made possible due to the generous support from the Hillman Foundation for the Traffic21 Institute and the US Department of Transportation for the Mobility21 National University Transportation Center. 

About The Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy
The Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy is home to two internationally recognized graduate-level institutions at Carnegie Mellon University: the School of Information Systems and Management and the School of Public Policy and Management. This unique colocation combined with its expertise in analytics set Heinz College apart in the areas of cybersecurity, health care, the future of work, smart cities, and arts & entertainment. In 2016, INFORMS named Heinz College the #1 academic program for Analytics Education. For more information, please visit

About the College of Engineering: The College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University is a top-ranked engineering college that is known for our intentional focus on cross-disciplinary collaboration in research. The College is well-known for working on problems of both scientific and practical importance. Our “maker” culture is ingrained in all that we do, leading to novel approaches and transformative results. Our acclaimed faculty have a focus on innovation management and engineering to yield transformative results that will drive the intellectual and economic vitality of our community, nation and world.

Learn more about Traffic21