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Detroit Mobility Solutions Coalition: Discussing the Future of Mobility in Detroit

November 16, 2020
On Nov. 12, MICHauto hosted the Detroit Mobility Solutions Coalition, a collaborative effort between stakeholders to provide plans and updates on the mobility ecosystem in Detroit. The group, which was initially formed in December 2016, meets to share plans, events, and actions to advance technology and solutions in the mobility space.

During the meeting, MICHauto’s Executive Director Glenn Stevens Jr. gave an update about the progression of the industry through the past eight months, and the importance of remaining vigilant to keep manufacturing open in the face of rising COVID-19 hospitalizations. In addition, Stevens shared that MICHauto’s focus has largely shifted to advocacy, in particular the partnership with the Center for Automotive Diversity, Inclusion & Advancement (CADIA) to develop strategies focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Several partners also provided updates on mobility work throughout the Detroit area:

Hind Ourahou, senior mobility strategist for the City of Detroit Office of Mobility Innovation discussed actions the city has been taking to meet their goal of building autonomous vehicle (AV) constituency among residents, promoting racial equity through access to mobility operations, and more. Recently, the City of Detroit received two grants, both of which will be utilized to engage the community and allow Detroit residents to have a say in shaping how AVs operate within the city. The Knight Foundation Grant will be used to engage the community in conversations around mobility gaps and pinpoint opportunities for public transit, new mobility and AV use, while the USDOT ADS Grant will focus on AV pilot deployment for seniors and people with disabilities.

Kathryn Snorrason, business development manager for PlanetM through the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC), gave updates on behalf of the State of Michigan’s Office of Future Mobility and Electrification (OFME). As a new initiative, the office works across state government, academia, and private industry to enhance mobility in Michigan. OFME’s vision for mobility and electrification is a stronger state economy through safer, more equitable, and environmentally conscious transportation for all Michigan residents. Currently, OFME works with the Governor’s office, MDOT, LEO, MEDC, and EGLE to coordinate statewide mobility strategies, grow the industry, engage mobility startups, expand smart infrastructure, accelerate EV adoption in Michigan, enable the mobility workforce, and bolster Michigan’s mobility manufacturing core.

Shaina Horowitz, vice president of product and programs for Newlab provided insight into the multi-disciplinary technology center’s engagement in Detroit. As a research lab and workspace for socially oriented technology manufacturing, the New York-based company consists of a community of experts and investors who apply transformative technologies to solve societal challenges. In partnership with Fortune 500 companies and civic leaders, Newlab builds teams to identify problems and design solutions, which are then piloted in Innovation and Venture Studios. Since their start in 2016, Newlab has opened two studios in Detroit: The Mobility Studio in partnership with Ford and Michigan Central, and The Accessible Streets Studio with Michigan Central. The focus of The Mobility Studio is to deliver on the electrified, connected, and autonomous future by building, testing, and launching new mobility concepts, in collaboration with industry experts, automotive leaders, engineers, entrepreneurs, and inventors. The Accessible Streets Studio was created to connect the Detroit community, civic stakeholders, startups, and industry experts to design, innovative solutions to bridge accessibility gaps.

Maggie Shannon, associate director of Michigan projects for Cavnue, shared updates on the company’s partnership with the State of Michigan to develop a connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) corridor across Southeast Michigan. Following the launch in August, Cavnue started a two-year feasibility study to determine the functionality of a dedicated laneway in Michigan. The process has been a public and private, co-creation effort between the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Cavnue. The overall vision of the project is to create a dedicated CAV laneway with flexibility and coordination capabilities to serve a variety of users: public transit, shuttles, personal vehicles, and freight. Cavnue’s research shows the vast potential benefits of the project including the creation of safe, reliable transit connecting job centers, improved policy goals such as accessibility for residents and visitors, continued innovation of Michigan, and the development of long-term technology.

For more information or to get involved with the Detroit Mobility Solutions Coalition, please contact Devon O’Reilly at doreilly@detroitchamber.com.