EXCLUSIVE: Michigan leads the way to smarter mobility in communities of all sizes


Yesterday (October 31) at the ITS World Congress in Montreal, PlanetM, Michigan’s mobility innovation platform formed in partnership with Michigan DOT, released its new report, “Future Cities: Navigating the New Era of Mobility”, which aims to help bring smarter mobility technology to all corners of the state.

The report sets out in clear terms the potential benefits of the various types of smart and connected transportation technology; giving villages, towns and cities, of all sizes, the ability to understand them and focus on developing and deploying the ones that might be best suited to their communities.

Michigan governor Rick Snyder, Michigan DOT director Kirk Steudle and report author Adela Spulber, a transportation systems analyst at CAR (Center for Automotive Research), addressed World Congress delegates at an event launching the document.

“I’m very excited to be here, because one of the great opportunities we have with society is what is going on with mobility. But it also has some of the greatest challenges,” said Snyder (below). “Much of the focus of this show is on technology. This report looks at what all these technologies mean and how can they be deployed. What’s the appropriate role for government? What’s the appropriate role for public-private partnerships? For the private sector and educational sectors? And how we all have to work together to make these things happen. In particular this report has a number of things that I think are great food for thought for the public sector.”

After the announcement Michigan DOT director Kirk Steudle (below) spoke exclusively to Traffic Technology Today. “The best part about this report out of all the work that I’ve seen is that it’s easy to understand. Some of them go way too deep technically and it’s kind of tough for a local village council or city to translate,” he said. “This isn’t written just for a villages, but it engages local populations. It does a good job of laying out the info – rideshares, mobility as a service, transit, micro transit – and it talks about when people drive, what the choices are. It’s trying to coordinate everything.”

“The application of connected vehicle technologies will have significant effects on transportation systems, land use and infrastructure investments for communities and local governments of all sizes,” added Spulber (below). “As the study’s guidelines show, municipalities that understand the potential challenges and benefits of CAVs and mobility technologies and services, make wise capital investments, and based on that knowledge, will be more attractive to both companies and residents.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).