U.S. Department of Transportation names San Francisco finalist in Smart City Challenge

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco is a finalist in a contest sponsored by the United States government to improve the way people get around in cities.

"Seventy-eight cities applied and there are seven finalists. A map shows San Francisco's competition in the Smart City Challenge. One of these cities will get $50 million to transform the way people get around," according to the video created by the U.S. Department of Transportation. It's all about using technology to make getting around easier, quicker, safer.

Imagine Caltrain pulls in to the station and there's a self-driving taxi waiting, or maybe an autonomous or ride-sharing car pulls up depending on how many people are traveling.

These are things that can reduce the demand for parking lots and free up space for housing or parks.

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's director says community input is part of the process.

"What would work for you, given all this new technology, whether it's sensors, on demand technology, whether it's autonomous vehicles. What would work for you? What are your challenges with technology?" said San Francisco Metropolitan Transit Athority director Ed Reiskin.

Google's parent company Alphabet announced Thursday it's jumping in. It tweeted that it will work with the finalists to build a platform to get transit data to city officials to find smarter ways to move people and goods.

As a finalist, San Francisco now gets $100,000 to expand its proposal. The winner will be announced in June.
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