Ford and Austin Launch Mobility Challenge Program

AutoInformed.com on Ford City Challenge Austin, Texas

The average Austin driver now spends more than 50 hours in traffic annually.

Ford and the Austin Transportation Department’s Smart Mobility team are launching the Austin City: One Challenge, a crowdsourcing program for residents, businesses and community groups to propose and test mobility solutions.

The goal is to help improve the quality of life for residents and visitors through mobility options that complement the existing transportation system.

The average Austin driver now spends more than 50 hours in traffic a year, and as the city continues to grow, the need for new movement methods will arise. City leaders are looking to make it easier for people living in all parts of Austin to access the services and resources required for living a healthy life.

The Challenge claims to complement the city’s efforts by aiding a collaborative process with the community, offering residents the opportunity to share their experiences and suggest ideas for how to solve their mobility problems. (Ford Smart Mobility, Zotye Ink MOU on Chinese Ride Hailing)

Throughout the eight-month Challenge, those who live, work and play in Austin are invited to explore mobility options focused around their needs. Ford and Challenge collaborators, including sponsors AT&T, Dell Technologies and Microsoft, also will assist with the community collaboration process. The challenge provides up to $100,000 to fund pilots that test solutions.

Austin is the fourth city to launch the City: One Challenge in 2019, following Indianapolis, Detroit and Mexico City. Each challenge is shaped to the specific city or county and is focused on addressing its unique needs.

Ford launched its city challenge in 2018 in Pittsburgh, Miami-Dade County and Grand Rapids, Mich. The three challenges resulted in ongoing pilots addressing issues ranging from long, inefficient student pickup lines at schools to safer transportation methods for night shift workers who must travel during non-traditional hours.

Starting today, Austin residents interested in participating can go to the City: One Challenge website to share their mobility experiences and sign up for community working sessions. Ford and its collaborators will combine insights from online submissions and the community workshops with advanced data analytics to help shape the issues explored by the Challenge.

The first community workshop will take place on July 18 at the Asian American Resource Center, from 5:30pm CDT. Other workshop dates will be announced in the future on the Challenge website. Community members, businesses, startups and innovators can begin submitting ideas for new mobility solutions to the biggest challenges Austin travelers face during the application period, which opens the week of August 28.

In October, a committee of city officials, community stakeholders and corporate collaborators will select 12 finalists to attend a prototyping session and receive mentoring support to refine their ideas before submitting a final pilot proposal. Finally, a panel of judges working with Austin city officials, Ford, and its corporate collaborators will award up to $100,000 to fund pilots to test the top proposed solutions.

About Kenneth Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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