by Bill Ford, Executive Chairman, Ford Motor Company
The auto industry is undergoing a revolutionary change that will improve people’s lives in cities around the world. It also will support the ongoing renaissance in my hometown of Detroit.
I am excited to be a part of both of these amazing transformations.
One hundred years ago, Detroit was at the center of the first mobility revolution. Today, entrepreneurs, innovators and companies like Ford are coming together to help realize a better future for mobility by solving major issues affecting the city. From issues like access to reliable and safe transportation to affordable last-mile transportation options, we are rethinking what mobility will mean for people today and in the future.
However, we can’t do this by ourselves, which is why we have spent the last year working with communities in Detroit to hear first-hand about their issues. We began by engaging with city residents in a series of public forums to understand their mobility experiences and challenges. In particular, residents told us they need safe, reliable access to transportation to help them get to their jobs, schools and healthcare providers, especially in inclement weather. They also told us they need affordable transportation options to get to the grocery store and access to reliable information about mass transit options.
We then launched the Go Detroit Challenge, where entrepreneurs and innovators developed solutions that could meet the needs of Detroiters. One thousand challenge participants from all around the country generated more than 150 ideas to address the challenges raised directly by the community.
Last week, I participated in the Go Detroit Challenge finale and saw many amazing ideas to help the city, including a network that connects people to ride-share companies and grocery stores and a chat bot that could direct people through safer streets to cut down on accidents. The most impressive part to the finale, though, was meeting with community members who have helped shape the challenge all along and give us honest input about how we can work together to help make a better community.
The Go Detroit Challenge is just the beginning. As we develop new technologies and systems to help address mobility challenges around the world, Detroit and the Southeastern Michigan region is uniquely positioned to lead the way. With top engineering talent, a skilled labor force, world-class universities and manufacturing excellence, we have the resources we need to remake the Motor City into the Mobility City.
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