- Ford announces winners of Go Detroit Challenge, awards $60,000 in prizes
- More than 1,000 challenge participants generated more than 160 ideas to address people’s transportation-related needs in Detroit
- Finalists worked with community organizations and Ford mobility experts to transform their ideas into innovative mobility solutions
DETROIT, April 4, 2017 – Closing out six months of collaboration with the Detroit community, the winners of Ford Motor Company’s Go Detroit Challenge were announced today. The winners – who will share $60,000 in prizes – identified and created innovative solutions to mobility challenges faced by Detroiters.
“By listening to people and responding to what they need, we can have dramatic impacts on their lives,” said Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor Company. “We are committed to developing mobility solutions that make people’s lives better, and we have focused on access and transportation issues in our own backyard that will help us bring real solutions to Detroit.”
Go Detroit began last fall with an ethnographic study of city residents to understand their mobility experiences and challenges. Key challenges they face include convenient and easy access to employment, schools and healthcare providers, especially in inclement weather; affordable transportation to grocery stores and leisure activities; and easy access to reliable information about mass transit options.
Participants applied their insights into these challenges toward helping generate new mobility solutions. Entrepreneurial ideas ranged from a shuttle service used to transport Detroit residents to and from work to ride-share companies that connect residents to grocery stores. On the app developer side, ideas included an Android app that helps stranded commuters find a safe resting place and an app that would be the first all-in-one Detroit transit system app.
“We’re appreciative to everyone who participated in the Go Detroit Challenge – so much time was dedicated and so many useful ideas were submitted,” said Mark de la Vergne, chief of mobility innovation for the city of Detroit. “We look forward to continuing to work with these companies, Ford Smart Mobility, and the residents of Detroit on improving mobility in our city.”
Participation in the Go Detroit Challenge was strong, with more than 1,000 people involved from around the world and four community working sessions generating more than 160 ideas. Finalists – from across the United States – presented their ideas to a seven-member panel of judges comprised of Ford experts, city representatives, nonprofit leaders and mobility business leaders.
“We took a unique approach,” said Jessica Robinson, director, Ford City Solutions. “We engaged in genuine conversations and created a new forum for community members dedicated to identifying mobility solutions together. The response has been overwhelming, exciting and sincere – we can’t wait to see what’s next.”
Go Detroit continues Ford’s commitment to the city – a commitment that has been in place since the company’s founding in 1903. In the last 10 years alone, Ford and its philanthropic arm, Ford Motor Company Fund, have invested $161 million in local education, arts, culture, diversity, hunger relief and social service organizations in southeast Michigan. Additionally, Ford’s commitment supports the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan Opera Theatre and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.
Ford collaborated with 100%Open and Devpost, specialists in open innovation challenges, app development, open source software competitions and hackathons, on the Go Detroit Challenge.
Project teams were separated into two categories that covered the spectrum of crowd-sourced solutions – a social entrepreneur track and an app developer track.
Social entrepreneur finalists
Entrepreneurs, organizations and community groups with ideas for a product, service or business took part in this category of the challenge. Participants ranged from college students to startup CEOs who took an ever-changing technology and turned it into a creative solution to address a larger problem.
- Caravan – However You Go, Together: A social mobility enterprise focused on improving Detroit’s needs-based transportation network, thus increasing access to services including healthcare, education and employment.
- Cart – Convenient Affordable Reliable Transportation: A social enterprise seeking to increase access to health-enabling resources by connecting people to affordable, reliable transportation. Cart connects ride-share companies and grocery stores.
- RideHop – Smart Bus Stop Beacons: By providing accurate, reliable information about passengers at bus stops, RideHop hopes to optimize routing, increase driver accountability, reduce wait times and improve safety.
- Vehicles for Change – Bringing Cars to Low Income Families Full Circle: A nonprofit empowering families to achieve independence via car ownership and technical skills training. Its aim is to provide increased personal mobility for Detroiters.
- Very Special Van Service – We Just Want to Get to Work: Shuttle service transporting Detroit residents to and from work via centralized hubs or pick-up/drop-off locations in the city, in areas in which DDoT and SMART don’t currently operate.
- Nonprofit Transportation Collaborative – People’s Choice winner: Supporting Detroit-based nonprofits in need of transporting youth to and from much-needed services – matching nonprofits in need with organizations that have available transportation.
App developer finalists
This category was for developers with ideas for a new mobility app to address a challenge, helping commuters have a safer, more efficient commute. Developers were asked to build apps that help Detroit residents mobilize their daily lives.
- Aired.IO – Personal routing chatbot to guide you through safer streets: Web app providing the fastest route with fewer accidents compared to alternate routes. Integrated with a chatbot to answer questions on route, including costs, distances and accidents.
- DETPM/Muv – Find the best places and transit in the city: iPhone app that helps residents, primarily the 6,500 passengers who use the service daily, find areas of interest close to stations for the People Mover – recently enhanced with other transit options.
- Detroit Smart Commute – Don’t let commuters travel alone and be unaccounted for: An Android app that allows commuters to quickly communicate their current status and location. Integrated with Project Greenlight, it helps stranded commuters find a safe resting place.
- ETA Detroit – first all-in-one Detroit transit system app: For Android users, app reduces the need to download multiple transit system apps to navigate around Detroit.
- Oodles Rewards – A smart journey app that earns rewards: App for both iPhone and Android that helps Detroiters earn gas money from purchases, and tracks local fuel prices to save drivers money.
The final winner, recipient of the Devpost Popular Choice award, is Marauder mApp V2, which shares a commuter’s location with friends while in transit – whether walking, using public transit or traveling by car. The app enables users to be aware of security alerts, broken street lights and other hazards.
After teams from each of the two tracks presented their ideas to a panel of judges the following top three winners in each category were chosen:
In the social entrepreneur category –
First place, winning $15,000, is Cart
Second place, winning $7,000 is Caravan
Third place, winning $3,000 is Vehicles for Change
In the app developer category –
First place, winning $15,000, is Aired.IO
Second place, winning $7,500 is Detroit Smart Commute
Third place, winning $3,000 is Oodles Rewards
Previously featured on Fordby