City, State and Corporate Partners work together to build innovative solutions to address mobility

DETROIT, Michigan, May 15, 2018 – Representatives from the City of Detroit, the State of Michigan and the business and non-profit sectors have come together to better understand the challenges residents face getting around Detroit and develop innovative mobility-focused solutions as part of the Detroit Mobility Innovation Initiative. Following more than 100 hours of interviews with Detroiters, four key areas of need were identified:

  • Neighborhood Mobility – improving mobility offerings for Detroit residents using public transit to get to work and healthcare services.
  • Downtown Accessibility – improving traffic conditions and parking offerings for Detroit residents looking for affordable and convenient parking close to home and Detroit employees who commute to the city for work or major events.
  • Traffic Safety – reduce the number of traffic injuries and fatalities for Detroit pedestrians, bikers, drivers and riders.
  • Electric Vehicle (EV) Utilization and Education – optimize the utilization of existing EV infrastructure and educate about EV.

Partners in the Detroit Mobility Innovation Initiative come from a broad range of industries and include: the City of Detroit, PlanetM/Michigan Economic Development Corporation, General Motors, Lear Corporation, DTE Energy, Bedrock Detroit, Quicken Loans Community Investment Fund, New Economy Initiative, The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and BCG Digital Ventures.

“Mobility solutions must be developed for the people that will be using them. This was a unique opportunity to work hand-in-hand with Detroiters and the private sector to create solutions that will help people get around our city. These future pilots will not only address challenges in Detroit, but also improve mobility in cities across the country,” said Mark de la Vergne, Chief of Mobility Innovation for the Mayor’s Office. 

The effort aims to help inform long-term transportation solutions for residents, visitors and employers in the City of Detroit while also supporting a startup ecosystem and providing corporate partners an opportunity to explore innovative technologies and services. Through the process, six solution concepts have been identified for the four areas of need – out of an initial pool of 120 – for possible deployment and testing in real-world environments in the city.

The solution concepts are:

  • A new transportation solution that will dynamically route shuttles and buses based on ride demand in order to drastically improve the transit experience by taking more direct routes and reducing the number of stops.
  • A revolutionary car sharing program that will provide low-cost car access to Detroiters through features that encourage responsible driving, lower insurance fees and operating costs.
  • A comprehensive parking platform that integrates dynamic pricing with a perks program to help Detroiters find parking at lower prices while fostering economic development and reducing congestion.
  • A public space in the heart of Detroit that residents and visitors can enjoy while fast charging their EVs or learning about the benefits of EV technology, in addition to other state-of-the-art automotive technologies.
  • A traffic management system employing connected technology to provide priority to transit vehicles at signalized intersections.
  • A central intelligence hub that sources data from various infrastructure, vehicle and mobile device sources to enable the development of concepts that require access to big love data to address safety and operational issues on Detroit’s street network.

“Michigan is the place where an entrepreneurial spirit and technical expertise come together to deliver a new generation of transportation solutions and opportunities for residents and businesses in Detroit and beyond,” said Trevor Pawl, Vice President of PlanetM, an initiative within the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “We have an ecosystem and collaborative mindset that is uniquely suited to bringing these concepts into the real world.” 

Southeast Michigan is experiencing a boom in mobility focused activity, with Detroit’s central business district driving a number of new startups and attracting top talent to the city’s core. Detroit Mobility Innovation Initiative is finding a new model to utilize all of the talent in Detroit to meet the current and future demands of mobility for residents, visitors and employers.

The Boston Consulting Group led a 12-week “innovation sprint” with representatives from each of the partners listed above to uncover key mobility challenges, identify solution concepts and develop business models for the four concepts under consideration for deployment. Throughout the “innovation sprint,” a board comprised of representatives from each of the partner organizations gathered to evaluate the concepts and provide direction.

“Detroit’s legacy is one of hard work, entrepreneurial energy and timeless innovation,” said Michelle Anderson, a partner at BCG and the head of the firm’s Detroit office. “BCG is proud to serve the community and partner with Detroit Mobility Innovation Initiative to better understand the city’s transportation issues and work with some of the most resourceful leaders in the area to develop solutions for today’s city residents and those of the future.”

The initiative is currently in the pre-pilot planning stages and anticipates deploying the first pilot within the next six months.


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