Ford this week announced the winners of its “Go Detroit” mobility challenge, awarding $60,000 in prizes to teams with promising ideas to help improve the safety, reliability, and accessibility of mobility solutions throughout the Metro Detroit area.
The Go Detroit Challenge kicked off last autumn with an ethnographic study of Detroit residents, Ford says, which revealed that Detroiters face challenges securing convenient access to employment, schools, and healthcare, and have a difficult time finding transportation to grocery stores and leisure activities, as well as good info about mass transit options. Those were the obstacles that Go Detroit participants were tasked with helping find solutions to.
In all, more than 1,000 individuals participated from around the world, generating over 160 ideas. Semifinalists worked with Ford mobility experts, prominent Detroit stakeholders, and startup accelerator Techstars Mobility to refine and polish their ideas before submitting them to a seven-member panel of judges. Those judges then selected six winners – three social entrepreneurs, and three app developers.
Social Entrepreneur Winners:
Cart – Convenient Affordable Reliable Transportation ($15,000): Cart seeks to increase access to grocery stores by connecting them with ride-share companies.
Caravan – However You Go, Together ($7,500): Caravan is focused on delivering greater access to healthcare, education, and employment by improving the needs-based transportation network in Detroit.
Vehicles for Change – Bringing Cars to Low Income Families Full Circle ($3,000): Vehicles for Change is a non-profit that strives to grant greater mobility independence to low-income families by helping them to acquire reliable cars, and providing technical skills training.
App Developer Winners:
Aired.IO – Personal Routing Chatbot to Guide You Through Safer Streets ($15,000): Aired.IO is a web app that plots fast driving routes with fewer accidents. An integrated “chatbot” can answer questions regarding costs associated with the route, distances, and accidents.
Detroit Smart Commute – Don’t Let Commuters Travel Alone and Be Unaccounted For ($7,500): Detroit Smart Commute is an app that lets commuters to communicate their current status and location quickly and easily, helping stranded individuals get help and, with its Project Greenlight integration, find a safe place to rest.
Oodles Rewards – A Smart Journey App That Earns Rewards ($3,000): Oodles Rewards helps Detroiters earn gas money back on their everyday purchases, and keeps tabs on gas prices in the area to help drivers save money on fueling costs.