Print Friendly and PDF

Mobility As Service to All Detroiters

Mobility is evolving. Between scooters, self-driving cars, buses, the QLine and more, Detroiters have more transportation options than ever, but are struggling to get to where they need to go.

The purpose of mobility is to service all Detroiters and make it easier for them to perform daily tasks. This was what a panel of mobility experts spoke about at the 2019 Detroit Policy Conference. Panelists included Ford Motor Company’s Detroit Engagement Manager Bryan C. Barnhill II, the City of Detroit’s Deputy Chief of Mobility Innovation Garry D. Bulluck, May Mobility’s Tara Lanigan, and Transportation Riders United’s Megan Owens. This panel was moderated by the Detroit Regional Chamber’s vice president of Automotive and Mobility Initiatives and the executive director of MICHauto, Glenn Stevens.

Each speaker brought a unique perspective to the discussion of evolving mobility, specifically in Detroit.

Barnhill talked about some of the innovative actions the Ford Motor Company is taking to address the community’s mobility needs. For example, Ford’s GoRide services now drive Detroit residents to critical hospital appointments

Bulluck took a different approach, looking at things from the resident’s perspective.

“Our job is to make it easier and more efficient for residents to get around the city to live, work, and play,” said Bulluck.

The City of Detroit is looking for mobility partners to provide seed funding for increased mobility services, Bulluck said. They are also looking for advocates to educate residents on how to take advantage of these new mobility services. Transportation Riders United is one such advocate.

“Our mission is to help people understand what is possible on the transit front.” said Owens. “We want to ensure that everyone has affordable, sustainable access to where they want to go.”

May Mobility, an Ann Arbor-based startup, is helping increase mobility in downtown Detroit with their autonomous shuttle services. Tara Lanigan is the customer success manager for May Mobility and says the purpose of the startup is to “get the message to the public to accept new mobility technology and to educate them on it.”

All panelists agreed that the rhetoric around cars vs. public transit is one roadblock preventing these new mobility services from reaching all Detroiters.

“We need to develop a ‘toolkit of opportunity’ for those who do not think transit is for them, to show them how they can take advantage of these new mobility opportunities,” Owens said.

The panel closed by looping in the theme of the Conference: What will Detroit look like in 2030? All panelists agreed that the hope is that by 2030, options for getting around regionally will exponentially increase and there will be enhanced mobility in Detroit’s neighborhoods.

In the future, mobility will be a right for all.