Ford Motor Company and PlanetM Announce City:One Challenge Winners


In June 2019, Ford Motor Company partnered with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s mobility initiative PlanetM to launch the City:One Challenge where individuals were encouraged to identify transportation challenges and how they proposed to fix or alleviate those challenges. The challenge heard responses from more than 2,000 local Detroit residents and received over 164 proposals. The Challenge’s steering committee, which was composed of industry experts, partner representatives, and local stakeholders, selected 12 finalists. These finalists were then provided the opportunity to work with mentors to refine their proposals and prepare pitch presentations. The challenge resulted in three winners: Mercy Education Project, AbleLink Smart Living Technologies, and a proposal from the Downtown Detroit Partnership.


“The quality of the proposals submitted for the City:One Challenge was simply outstanding,” said Mark de la Vergne, chief of mobility innovation for the city of Detroit. “We are truly appreciative for all the time and energy spent in understanding mobility in the area of Michigan Central Station and proposing solutions. The fact that two of the three winners are local residents demonstrates the creativity and passion that Detroiters have for mobility.”


The challenge encouraged people to submit ideas that could create immediate and long-term benefits. Hoping to find solutions that would accommodate residents, workers, and visitors to the Michigan Central Station area as well as creating long-term improvements to the city’s mobility. Submitters were encouraged to consider improving access to mobility information, making mobility more affordable, and creating a safe and inviting environment for all. The program aimed to bring together government officials, local residents, startups and entrepreneurs in hopes to understand mobility issues and find solutions.


“A key goal for the City:One Challenge is to help preserve the unique fabric of the communities surrounding Michigan Central Station, even as the area sees expanded development,” said Jeff Jones, vice president, Ford City Solutions. “By reaching out to residents, businesses and community groups through this program, we can better understand the issues people face on a daily basis and support ideas that will have a direct impact on their lives.”


Mercy Education Project, a nonprofit charitable organization, proposed creating Rock City Mobility Stations. Each station would include a kiosk featuring signage, bus schedules, maps, parking information, and more. Each station would also be a central location for bike-sharing and ride-sharing services. The overall goal is to increase access to information as well as introduce various mobility options to residents and visitors.


AbleLink, a technology solutions provider, proposed a method to improve transportation for individuals with cognitive disabilities and other special needs. They introduced a customizable WayFinder app allowing individuals to download an app that can give instructions from a cloud-based WayFinder SMART Route Library to help them get to their destination independently.


The third winner was a team consisting of members from the Downtown Detroit Partnership, DTE, and local artists. Their proposal involved improving the safety and walkability of the Michigan Avenue Bridge over the Lodge Freeway. This involved installing colorful public art and street furniture and amenities.


“The City:One Challenge builds on our commitment to advance the state’s robust mobility landscape while providing greater access to transportation solutions for residents in the Corktown community and beyond,” said Amanda Roraff, managing director of PlanetM, the mobility initiative of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “We’re excited to welcome these pilots to Michigan’s mobility ecosystem, and to learn from them to develop better mobility solutions in the future.”


For more information regarding the semifinalists and other submitted proposals, visit the City:One Challenge Website. Stay up to date with all of Ford’s community involvements by following the Keller Bros Ford Lititz blog. Looking for a new vehicle? Stop by Keller Bros in Ford Lititz today!

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