As car companies race to perfect the autonomous vehicle of the future, many people are wondering what challenges those driverless cars might present to cities.
Ford Motor Company is teaming up with cities across the country to hear firsthand from residents what concerns they have with mobility in their cities as well as innovative ideas they might have for improvements.
On Wednesday, the City of Grand Rapids announced it has been selected as the third city in Ford’s City of Tomorrow Challenge.
The City of Tomorrow Challenge is described as a “crowdsourcing platform for residents, businesses and community groups to propose and pilot solutions that improve mobility in Grand Rapids.”
The eight-month program includes opportunities for Grand Rapids residents and visitors to provide feedback on the City of Tomorrow Challenge Grand Rapids website. It also includes a contest with a prize of up to $100,000 to fund pilots that test the top solutions in a real-world setting.
Individuals are encouraged to share their experiences, sign up for community working sessions and offer insight into the ways they move around Grand Rapids. Information about the Challenge also will be shared via Twitter.
The week of July 23 marks the opening of the application period for participants to begin submitting ideas for new mobility solutions. Leading up to that, the city, Ford and their partners will combine insights from the online and offline communities with data analytics to help shape the challenge.
In September, semifinalists will be selected to attend a prototyping session and receive mentoring support to refine their ideas before submitting a final pilot proposal. At the concluding stage of the Challenge, $100,000 will be awarded to fund pilots to test the top proposed solutions in collaboration with the City, Ford and its corporate collaborators.
“We have joined the City of Tomorrow Challenge because we believe Grand Rapids is a place where innovative ideas can improve mobility in our city,” said Rosalynn Bliss, mayor of Grand Rapids.
Grand Rapids marks the third location for the City of Tomorrow Challenge, following announcements in Pittsburgh and Miami-Dade County earlier this month. Each challenge is tailored to a specific city or county and is focused on addressing its unique needs.
Visit City of Tomorrow Challenge for more information and to leave your feedback.
*Photo courtesy of Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.