Ford and Austin launch City-One Challenge program to help improve urban mobility


Ford and the City of Austin in Texas have launched the Austin City:One Challenge, a co-creation and crowdsourcing program for residents, businesses and community groups to propose and pilot solutions that improve mobility.

While Austin continues to be one of the fastest growing cities in the USA, that growth has also impacted mobility in the city. The average driver, for example, now spends more than 50 hours in traffic a year, and as the city continues to grow and evolve, the need for new mobility solutions will continue to be apparent. Locally, city leaders are looking to make it easier for people living in all parts of Austin to access the services and resources required for living a healthy life. The City:One Challenge is designed to complement the city’s efforts by facilitating a collaborative process with the community, offering residents the opportunity to share their experiences and suggest ideas for how to solve their most pressing mobility problems. The goal is to help improve the quality of life for residents and visitors through dynamic mobility options that complement the existing transportation system.

Ford and the Austin Transportation Department’s Smart Mobility team will explore citizen’s transportation needs and collaborate on new solutions. Throughout the eight-month City:One Challenge program, those who live, work and play in Austin are invited to explore dynamic mobility options focused on their requirements. Ford and Challenge collaborators, including sponsors AT&T, Dell Technologies and Microsoft, will also assist with the community collaboration process. Following a series of community workshops, the public, businesses, startups and innovators can begin submitting ideas for new mobility solutions during the application period at the end of August. In October, a committee of city officials, community stakeholders and corporate collaborators will select 12 finalists to attend a prototyping session and receive mentoring support to refine their schemes before submitting a final pilot proposal. Finally, a panel of judges will award up to US$100,000 to fund pilots to test the top proposed solutions.

Ford originally launched its City Challenge program in 2018 in Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania), Miami-Dade County (Florida) and Grand Rapids (Michigan). The three challenges resulted in ongoing pilots addressing issues ranging from long, inefficient student pickup lines at schools to safer transportation methods for night shift workers who must travel during non-traditional hours. Austin is the fourth city to launch the City:One Challenge this year, following previous announcements in Indianapolis, Detroit and Mexico City. Each challenge is tailored to the specific city or county and is focused on addressing its unique needs.

“To truly solve problems that affect the way people move in our cities, we believe it’s imperative to encourage all residents to take part in the process, identify serious issues, and propose solutions that lead to greater access for everyone,” said Jeff Jones, vice president of Ford City Solutions. “With the City:One Challenge, our goal is to engage people on a personal level, to really understand the unique issues that affect their day-to-day lives, as we look for solutions that have a real chance to improve their experiences.”

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Adam joined the company in 1994, and has been News Editor of TTT since 2009. In his other role as Circulation Manager, he helped create the original Traffic Technology International distribution list 23 years ago, and has been working on it ever since. Outside of work, he is a keen fisherman, runs a drumming band, and plays an ancient version of cricket.