Ford bringing mobility challenge to Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — West Michigan will soon get an opportunity to weigh in on the future of transportation, as Ford brings its City of Tomorrow Challenge to Grand Rapids.

The automaker is trying to determine what roles ride-sharing, ride-hailing and connected vehicles will play in the future of transportation.

They’re taking those questions to people like Mike Ogg.

“I think give it ten years and we won’t be having a steering wheel no more,” said Ogg, who drives for mobile food service company, JoyRun.

Grand Rapids will join Pittsburgh and Miami-Dade as the third city in Ford’s City of Tomorrow Challenge.

However, Ford, the city of Grand Rapids and the Right Place would not comment on specifics of the challenge until a news conference scheduled for Wednesday.

Miami-Dade and Pittsburgh, have established websites to gather ideas. The best ideas are eligible for a $100,000 grant to run pilot programs.

“Where’s the next Einstein at?” Asked Ogg. “You know, somebody’s going to come up with something… the streets will be no more. I think we’ll be floating in the air soon.”

The challenge isn’t limited to those who get behind the wheel. While waiting for The Rapid’s Silver Line, Larry Brooks said the City of Tomorrow Challenge seems to address at least one part of the transportation issue many face daily.

“Put a month in my shoes and find out all the differences and all the hardships that you can have trying to ride the bus,” he said.

Ford made headlines last week when it announced plans to revive Detroit’s abandoned Central Train Station, transforming it into a hub that will house Ford’s foray into electric and autonomous vehicle design.

The move aligns with Ford’s corporate vision for the future, as it transitions from a car manufacturer to mobility company.

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