Michigan Governor Rick Snyder today announced the Michigan Mobility Challenge, an $8-million grant initiative to address core mobility gaps for seniors, those with disabilities, and veterans.
“As residents change the way they live, travel, and use services, many of the technologies that are changing the transportation industry will be designed, tested, and created in Michigan,” says Snyder. “The $8 Million Michigan Mobility Challenge provides an opportunity to deliver innovative transportation solutions and further position the state as a leader in startup testing and deployment.”
The challenge was unveiled at this week’s 2018 Mackinac Policy Conference. It is designed to engage the state’s technology, startup, and transportation networks, as well as service providers, advocacy groups, and state agencies, including the Michigan Department of Transportation, Michigan Economic Development Corp., Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, and Bureau of Services to Blind Persons.
Organizations will be encouraged to develop public-private partnerships in the design and implementation of innovative pilot projects.
“As the needs of residents change, we must develop creative solutions for addressing transit and infrastructure gaps that evolve with geographical shifts,” says Kirk Steudle, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation. “The $8 Million Michigan Mobility Challenge allows us to use the assets we have and introduce new methods for getting travelers to their destinations as safely and efficiently as possible.”
Grants will be awarded to fund the demonstration of projects based on pilot submissions and proposed service areas. The grants will be used to subsidize a portion of the cost to plan, deliver, and monitor the demonstration services for a three- to six-month period. The remaining costs are expected to be covered by fares, local contributions, and other funds.
Projects will deploy in urban, rural, and suburban communities of varying sizes throughout the state.
A workshop was held last week to solicit input on the challenge request for proposal process from key stakeholder groups involved in the initiative. A request for proposal will be issued June 4, at which point teams can submit their proposals. The first round of projects is slated to be introduced in target communities by fall 2018.
Recent data indicates the current transportation network is not meeting the needs of seniors and those with disabilities. Local transit agencies who support these groups will be involved in the pilot program planning.
Michigan is one of the first states to allow self-driving vehicles on public roadways and is seeing growth in attracting related business.
“Besides making communities safer, greener, and more productive, we believe a new mobility solution should also be a way to uphold a person’s dignity,” says Trevor Pawl, group vice president of PlanetM, the state of Michigan’s mobility-focused brand and business development program.
“If a mobility company or startup has a big idea, they should bring it to Michigan. The evolution of mobility demands collaboration between state, industry, community, advocacy, and higher education leaders working together to make sure new mobility raises the quality of life for everyone. Today’s Mobility Challenge announcement is a testament to how Michigan is the epicenter of the mobility revolution.”