The recent news about Ford Mobility’s City Insights Platform is a significant milestone when it comes to developing mobility solutions for our cities. It is also an excellent example of how Ann Arbor SPARK is uniquely positioned to advance private-public partnerships that benefit the region’s economy.
When Ford Mobility first pitched the urban data platform and
simulation tool concept, Ann Arbor SPARK immediately recognized its potential
to grow the city as a living lab. “This project is another proof point that Ann
Arbor is an area of innovation with a rich history of excellence in research
and development,” said Paul Krutko, Ann Arbor SPARK president and CEO. “SPARK
is uniquely positioned to help bring projects like this to fruition by helping
bring private and public entities to the table, plus we have the industry
expertise to facilitate conversations from multiple perspectives.”
After the initial project proposal, there was a 90-day pilot to get all stakeholders’ goals and data aligned. The pilot showed promising results with a need for further investment and development. It was at that time Ann Arbor SPARK applied for funding from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). A grant through the PlanetM initiative was awarded and at that time, SPARK took a more active role as grant administrator and project manager.
“We were happy to assist in the development of the city
insights tool and help accomplish this incredible collaboration,” said Komal
Doshi, Ann Arbor SPARK director of mobility. “In our role, we helped break down
silos and set the foundation for future mobility partnerships. This initiative
provides us with a system-based approach to access data-driven insights while
simulating and deploying mobility initiatives that will improve access and
mobility in the city.”
Ford selected Ann Arbor because it has big-city
transportation issues, is taking a progressive city planning approach, and is
home to many innovators and tech startups. There are currently 213 mobility
companies in Washtenaw County. Ann Arbor’s living lab environment presents a
real and exciting opportunity for startups and established brands alike to
collaborate to advance the mobility industry.
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