‘Mobility Challenge’ aims to create transportation solutions for seniors, persons with disabilities and veterans

Tracey Shavers

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Snyder, state leaders launch $8 Million Michigan at Mackinac Policy Conference

Unveiled at the 2018 Mackinac Policy Conference (May 30), the $8 Million Michigan Mobility Challenge will engage the state’s robust technology, startup and transportation networks to address core mobility gaps for seniors, persons with disabilities and veterans across the state.

“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,” said Gov. Rick 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.” 

State agencies involved in developing transportation solutions include Michigan Department of Transportation, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, and Bureau of Services to Blind Persons. 

Organizations are 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,” said Kirk Steudle, director of 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."

Michigan Mobility Challenge grants will be awarded to fund the demonstration of multiple projects of varying size 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, with the remaining costs being covered from fares, local contributions and other funds.

Projects will deploy in urban, rural and suburban communities of varying sizes throughout Michigan and be coordinated with current services to enhance the existing transportation network in an area.

An RFP will be issued June 4, 2018, at which point teams can submit their proposals for consideration. The first round of projects are slated to be introduced in target communities by fall 2018.

Studies reveal the current transportation network does not meet the needs of seniors and persons with disabilities who often are more transit dependent than the general public. Local transit agencies, planning organizations and advocates for the elderly, veterans, and disabled will be highly engaged in the pilot program planning. 

As one of the first states to allow self-driving vehicles on public roadways, Michigan is a national leader in connected and automated vehicle (CAV) projects. Through significant alliances established by the state’s PlanetM initiative – launched at Mackinac Policy Conference in 2016 – as well as its vast ecosystem of resources, the state is seeing significant growth in attracting mobility startups, expanding research and advancing the testing of CAV technologies. 

“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,” said Trevor Pawl, group vice president of PlanetM, State of Michigan’s mobility-focused brand and business development program.

“Today’s Mobility Challenge announcement is a testament to how Michigan is the epicenter of the mobility revolution,” he said.

For more information about the $8 Million Michigan Mobility Challenge, please visit www.michigan.gov/mobilitychallenge.

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