Last July during the Mackinac Policy Conference, then governor Rick Snyder announced an $8 million Michigan Mobility Challenge. The program is designed to encourage public-private partnerships in the design and implementation of innovative mobility services utilizing emerging technologies to solve mobility gaps for seniors, persons with disabilities and veterans. Yesterday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer was on hand at Cobo Center to announce the second round of winners during the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).

“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,” said Gov. Whitmer. “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 second, and final, round of awarded projects includes $4.7 million in grants to be split between four new mobility-focused technological initiatives in Grand Rapids, Battle Creek, Southeast Michigan and the central Upper Peninsula.

The projects are:

  • New Autonomous Mobility Vision for Michigan, $2,168,219: an autonomous electric shuttle at the Battle Creek VA Medical Center operating for extended hours to veterans, along with creating an easier method for ordering and scheduling services.
  • Southeast Michigan Integrated Platform for Paratransit Services, $1,050,000: a “one-click” online booking and trip management platform 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, $373,782: a ridesharing mobile app for paratransit services to shorten trip duration and reservation lead time. Users can book trips on the same day and spend less time on the bus.
  • Michigan Universal Vehicle Ecosystem Pilot, $1,178,129: a ridesharing platform in the central upper peninsula that will increase accessible transportation options decrease isolation for anyone with mobility challenges.

The first round of nine grants were announced in October 2018. Yesterday’s announcement brings the total number of projects funded to 13 in urban, rural and suburban communities of varying sizes throughout Michigan.

Author: Lisa Diggs

Lisa Diggs is a writer, speaker, entrepreneur, business consultant, avid traveler, and founder of The Catalyst Company, LLC, Michigan Positivity Project, and Buy Michigan Now.