Ford’s Smart Mobility plan has a great many objectives in mind with regard to transforming the existing transportation landscape, all ultimately aimed at helping people to move about with more personal freedom and greater efficiency.
While not part of the Ford Smart Mobility initiative, a new pilot program coming to Kansas City, Missouri exhibits very much the same spirit.
The “Ride KC: Bridj” mass transit pilot program represents the first public-private collaboration to bring together a public mass transit organization (the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority), an urban technology company (Bridj), and a major automaker (Ford Motor Company). Bridj brands itself as a “pop-up mass transit system,” using millions of data points in order to more smartly and efficiently transport people from point A to point B – much like Ford hopes to accomplish with some of its own research in the field.
Using Bridj’s platform, plus ten locally-built Ford Transit passenger vans, Ride KC: Bridj is launching this March with the aim of increasing accessibility to Kansas City’s most job-dense areas. According to the Brookings Institute, “only 18 percent of jobs in the Kansas City region are accessible within 90 minutes when using existing mass transit options,” said Bridj CEO Matt George. “By improving access to jobs, Ride KC: Bridj is a catalyst for social and economic opportunity, and an example of what is possible when cities adopt technological innovation and work in collaboration with private entities to create a truly modern city.”
The Ford Transit is produced nearby at Ford’s Kansas City Assembly plant, making its selection for the Ride KC: Bridj pilot program appropriate. Elsewhere, at the automaker’s Dearborn, Michigan campus, the Ford Transit has been used in Ford’s own homegrown pilot shuttle program.
Said Ford Research and Advanced Engineering Global Mobility Manager Erica Klampfl: “We are excited that Ford Transit was selected for Ride KC: Bridj because this is one of many projects that will help us gain insights into what works and develop smarter, more connected mobility solutions and service-oriented products.”