Ford and PlanetM Select Three Winners for City:One Michigan Central Station Challenge

In June of 2018 Ford acquired the Michigan Central Station with plans to restore it as the center focus of  a new mobility innovation district in Corktown. A year later, they launched the City:One Challenge as a crowd-sourcing platform to bring together government officials, local residents, and entrepreneurs to help identify mobility issues and find solutions. After hearing from over 2,000 Detroit residents and receiving over 164 unique proposals, the committee composed of industry experts, partner representatives, and local stakeholders selected 12 finalists.


“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.”


Each of the 12 finalists were able to work with mentors as they polished their proposal and created a pitch presentation. Ford and PlanetM, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s mobility initiative, selected three winners to split the $250,000 winnings and implement their proposal. The three winners were Mercy Education Project, a nonprofit charitable organization, AbleLink Smart Living Technologies, and a team comprised of the Downtown Detroit Partnership, DTE, and local artists.


“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.”


Mercy Education Project’s proposal involves creating Rock City Mobility Stations with kiosks filled with bus schedules, parking information, maps, and other relevant signage. These kiosks would also be centrally located near ride-sharing services such as bike-sharing and scooter-sharing.


AbleLink’s proposal aims to assist those with cognitive disabilities, special needs, or low English-proficiency, so they can become more independent in traveling place to place. Their solution created a customized WayFinder app that provides instructions from a cloud-based WayFinder SMART Route Library to help these individuals find their way independently.


The team proposal put forward by Downtown Detroit Partnership, DTE, and local artists hopes to improve the walkability of the Michigan Avenue Bridge over the Lodge Freeway to better connect Corktown and southwest Detroit. This will be carried out by commissioning artwork by the two local Detroit artists and providing street furniture and amenities.


“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.”


The City:One Challenge was also sponsored by AT&T, Dell Technologies, and Microsoft. To stay up to date on all of Ford’s latest community involvements be sure to follow Carman Ford’s blog or sign-up for our email notifications, delivered right to your inbox!

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