Detroit addresses mobility issues for residents, visitors, employers

Key areas of focus identified regarding mobility issues in Detroit


DETROIT – Detroit is addressing mobility issues faced by the residents, visitors and employers within the city.

Representatives from Detroit, the state of Michigan and the business and nonprofit sectors have come together to better understand the challenges residents face getting around Detroit. The Detroit Mobility Innovation Initiative is looking for solutions to fix this problem within the city. After interviewing Detroiters, they identified four key areas that need to be addressed:

  • Neighborhood Mobility – improving mobility offerings for Detroit residents using public transit to get to work and health care 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 Utilization and Education – optimize the utilization of existing EV infrastructure and educate about EV.

Partners in the Detroit Mobility Innovation Initiative include: Detroit, PlanetM/Michigan Economic Development Corp., General Motors, Lear Corp., DTE Energy, Bedrock Detroit, Quicken Loans Community Investment Fund, New Economy Initiative, The Boston Consulting Group 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," Mark de la Vergne, chief of mobility innovation for the mayor’s office said.

The goal is to provide residents, visitors and employers in Detroit with long-term transportation solutions. Six solutions have been identified for the four key areas of need.

The solutions 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 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,” Trevor Pawl, vice president of PlanetM, said.

The initiative's focus on mobility is to meet the current and future demands of residents, visitors and employers. The Boston Consulting Group led a 12-week "innovation spirit" with representatives from the partners listed above to find challenges, identify solutions and develop business models for the four key concepts. 

“Detroit’s legacy is one of hard work, entrepreneurial energy and timeless innovation,” Michelle Anderson, a partner at BCG and head of the firm’s Detroit office, said. “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 early planning stages and anticipates launching the first pilot program within the next six months.