Michigan’s Mobility Assets Key Topic of Netherlands Delegation Visit to Detroit

On June 21, the Detroit Regional Chamber hosted a delegation of 15 representatives from the Netherlands’ most successful mobility companies to discuss smart mobility and smart city solutions. Delegates were eager to learn about Detroit’s landscape, its business environment, and its leadership and future mobility projects, particularly in autonomous driving.

The Netherlands are among the world’s leading developers of smart and sustainable cities. During the visit, the delegation met with Glenn Stevens, executive director of MICHauto, and Mark de la Vergne, chief of mobility for the city of Detroit, who shared the city’s strategy around mobility as a service (MAAS).

Additionally, on June 26, a second delegation from the Netherlands featuring key representatives from AutomotiveNL and Brainport Region joined the Chamber for a tour of Southeast Michigan, meeting with representatives from Ann Arbor SPARK, Ford Motor Co. and the Michigan Department of Transportation. The delegation also received a tour of the Macomb County Communications and Technology Center and DENSO to discuss the region’s automotive and mobility landscape. The delegation visits were part of an ongoing effort by the Chamber and its economic development partners to connect leading global technology firms with automotive OEMs and the supplier pipeline in the region.

Urban Mobility Solutions Are Reliant on a Willingness to Share

Connecting people with efficient transportation options is essential to remaining competitive as a region. As part of the “Urban Mobility Solutions: Innovating Transportationpanel, leading mobility experts shared insight on Detroit’s efforts to transform into a more transportation-friendly city.

“It is in our DNA here (in Detroit) that everyone gets in their own car and drive,” said Mark de la Vergne, chief of mobility innovation for the city of Detroit. “Yet the concept of sharing is gaining traction and that is a good thing for everyone needing mobility.”

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Key takeaways:

  • Bike-sharing, like car-sharing, works in urban environments.
  • The Regional Transit Authority is critical to Detroit’s resurgence as it can unify the region.
  • Mobility companies must work collaboratively to promote Michigan’s world-class research and development assets.
  • Lyft is working to create a friendly service for the tech-challenged market.
  • Detroit must make safe, reliable transit options easier to access.
  • There must be a continuous attempt to strengthen public and private sector relationships to help improve mobility.
  • Autonomous technology brings a new sector of business to mobility that benefits everyone.

Panelists also included: Elliot Darvick, general manager of Lyft Detroit; and Lisa Nuszkowski, founder and executive director of Detroit Bike Share. The panel was moderated by Crain’s Detroit Business senior reporter Chad Livengood.

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