Ford, Detroit, PlanetM launch $250,000 community challenge to improve mobility around Michigan Central Station

Ford, Detroit, PlanetM launch $250,000 community challenge to improve mobility around Michigan Central Station

If you’ve driven around the Michigan Train Station and its surrounding neighborhoods you know getting around can be big issue. If you have ideas about how to improve mobility around the station, here’s your chance to make your voice heard.

Ford, the City of Detroit and PlanetM today have launched the City:One Michigan Central Station Challenge, a co-creation and crowdsourcing program for residents, businesses and community groups to propose and pilot solutions that improve mobility in the neighborhoods surrounding the historic train station.

The City:One Michigan Central Station Challenge co-creation and crowdsourcing program gives residents, businesses and community groups the opportunity to propose and pilot solutions that improve mobility in the neighborhoods surrounding the historic Michigan Train Station.

The goal is to help improve the quality of life for people living, working and visiting the community surrounding Michigan Central Station through the development of mobility solutions that complement existing transportation services. While this Challenge is focused on the development area around Michigan Central Station, where you live does not matter when it comes to participation.

“We strongly believe that the residents and business owners in the neighborhoods surrounding Michigan Central Station are critical partners in ensuring the community can meet the needs of all its residents,” says Aniela Kuzon, global lead, Ford City:One Innovation “That’s why we’re directly involving the community in our City:One Challenge. Improving mobility for current and future residents will be crucial to preserving the unique fabric of the entire community.”

Residents interested in participating and submitting ideas can go to the City:One Challenge website to share their mobility experiences and sign up for the first in a series of community working sessions, where residents come together to listen to mobility stories and design innovative solutions together.

The first community workshop will take place on Wednesday, June 26 from 5:30-8pm at the Ford Resource and Engagement Center. Other workshop dates will be announced in the future. Community members, businesses, startups and innovators can begin submitting ideas for new mobility solutions the week of August 28.

During the Challenge, participants will investigate potential methods that help residents overcome barriers to transportation, make biking and walking more inviting, and help residents move to and from the neighborhoods around the train station to destinations throughout Detroit. Additionally, the Challenge will explore how to bring important daily services to residents, especially those who may not have easy access to transportation.

Throughout the eight-month program, the Challenge will invite residents, community organizations and businesses to explore dynamic mobility options focused around their top needs. Ford, PlanetM and program sponsors will assist with the community collaboration process.

Ford sees the train station’s main lobby as a community gathering spot, which will include retail stores and restaurants. Photo courtesy of Ford

The City:One Challenge will also support and inform the broader transportation planning efforts currently under the Greater Corktown Neighborhood Framework Plan, as well as the Michigan Department of Transportation’s Planning and Environmental Linkages Study for Michigan Avenue.

Ford and its collaborators will combine insights from online submissions and the community workshops using advanced data analytics to help shape the issues explored by the program. In October, a committee of city officials, community stakeholders and corporate collaborators will select finalists to receive in-kind support and cash stipends to refine their ideas into a final pilot proposal. Finally, a panel of judges working with Detroit city officials, Ford and its collaborators will award up to $250,000 to fund pilots to test the top proposed solutions.

Solutions chosen for pilot tests will be supported with $250,000, while an additional $78,000 in stipends is available to support 12 finalists as they tailor their ideas and develop full pilot proposals. Ford and PlanetM are providing the funding, while further support for the program will come from sponsors AT&T, Dell Technologies and Microsoft.

“Ensuring that inclusive and accessible transportation options exist for the people in our community remains a vital priority, and it starts with identifying solutions to today’s most crucial mobility challenges,” says Trevor Pawl, senior vice president of business innovation at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “The City:One Michigan Central Station Challenge combines Michigan’s opportunistic approach to the advancement of new mobility technology with our commitment to improving the quality of life for individuals, by directly engaging with those most impacted in the community.”

Top picture courtesy of Ford


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