New Mobility Projects Increase Accessibility for Michigan Residents

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Pointing to the critical role transportation plays in improving access to services and public life in communities across the state, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the final round of pilot projects to receive funding under the $8 Million Michigan Mobility Challenge initiative today at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The Michigan Mobility Challenge grants address core mobility gaps for seniors, persons with disabilities, and veterans across the state, with projects in Battle Creek, Grand Rapids, the Central Upper Peninsula and Southeast Michigan receiving funding in this second round.

“We have an opportunity, and a responsibility, to advance our state’s technology and automotive landscape in a way that also improves the quality of life for countless individuals in Michigan,” Whitmer says. “The Michigan Mobility Challenge can offer a blueprint for the rest of the nation on how to look to mobility technology to improve transportation options for citizens who need access to an affordable, reliable way to go to the bank, their doctor’s appointment or the grocery store.”

The four projects announced today are:

  • New Autonomous Mobility Vision for Michigan ($2. 1 million) — an autonomous electric shuttle at the Battle Creek VA Medical Center.  This will allow for extended hours of service to veterans on the hospital campus as well as an easier method for ordering and scheduling services.
  • Southeast Michigan Integrated Platform for Paratransit Services ($1 million) — an integrated online booking and trip management platform that can create a “one-click” experience for users of AAATA, DDOT and SMART ADA Paratransit services, making scheduling and managing paratransit trips easier for seniors and people with disabilities.
  • Team Grand Rapids: Interurban Transit Partnership ($370,000) – utilizing a dynamic ride share app for paratransit services in Grand Rapids to improve rider experience by shortening trip duration and reservation lead time. This will allow booking trips the same day and mean users spend less time on the bus.
  • Michigan Universal Vehicle Ecosystem Pilot ($1.2 million) – a ride-share platform in the central U.P. that will focus on increasing accessible transportation options, build community and decrease isolation for those with mobility challenges.

“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. “This project illustrates the impact of Michigan’s leadership in piloting new technology as well as a commitment to quality of life here in the state.”

The $8 Million Michigan Mobility Challenge was designed to fund the demonstration of projects of using new technology and innovative service models to address mobility gaps for seniors, persons with disabilities, and veterans in Michigan. Awarded 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, with the remaining costs being covered from fares, local contributions and other funds. Projects will coordinate with current services to enhance the existing transportation network in an area.

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