Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced on Wednesday May 30 an $8 Million Michigan Mobility Challenge grant initiative 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,” Snyder said. “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.”
Unveiled at the 2018 Mackinac Policy Conference, the $8 Million Michigan Mobility Challenge will engage the state’s robust technology, start-up and transportation networks – along with service providers, advocacy groups and state agencies, including the 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 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,” said 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.”
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.
Last week, a day-long workshop was held to solicit input on the challenge request for proposal (RFP) process from key stakeholder groups involved in the initiative – including regional transit officials, private companies and advocacy organizations. An RFP will be issued June 4, 2018, at which point teams can submit their proposals for consideration. 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 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.
“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,” said 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.”
For more information about the$8 Million Michigan Mobility Challenge, please visit:www.michigan.gov/mobilitychallenge.