Columbus “Smart City” Project Could Spark a Wave of All-In-One Transportation Apps

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Shifting from an Uber ride to public transit to a Bird electric scooter might soon get a whole lot easier, courtesy of your local municipality. That is, if a new, first-of-its-kind project in Columbus, Ohio developed with Siemens Mobility, gains traction in other cities, as highlighted in a Siemens press release.

  • Columbus will launch the first publicly-managed single payment system for transportation.
  • The new “Smart Columbus” initiative streamlines transportation costs into one app.
  • Ride-hailing, bike-sharing and e-scooter services are included in the new “smart city” initiative.

bird scooters
The Columbus all-in-one transportation app will enable riders to pay for multiple modes of transportation on a trip using one payment system. (Photo: Bird)

Simpler mobility

Siemens Mobility and its partly-owned subsidiary, Bytemark, have teamed up to create a single payment system in Columbus for using public and private modes of transportation. The new program, part of a growing number of “smart city” initiatives, streamlines the overall trip planning and payment process by expanding the city’s open-source transportation platform, known as the Smart Columbus Operating System (OS).

Using a more centralized system, the new enhanced service will enable riders to pay for multiple modes of transportation for a trip on a single app managed by the city.

In addition to the more traditional modes of public and private transit, the new Siemens Mobility and Bytemark-powered all-in-one app payment system also includes ride-hailing, bike-share and e-scooter rentals. Once a trip is made, the system automatically routes the money to the appropriate public or private service payment system to cover the designated fees.


With cities continuing to look for more innovative ways to improve urban mobility, the all-in-one Smart Columbus trip app could prompt other cities to explore similar initiatives. The more-seamless mobility pay system could also help to entice more people to use public transit in cities that have struggled to maintain the kind of ridership to sustain and make needed improvements to their ailing systems.

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