Michigan's PlanetM Drives Mobility Solutions

New mobility requires new business models. And, Michigan is leading that conversation.

Trevor Pawl

October 29, 2018

3 Min Read
Detroit Skyline PlanetM

From Michigan’s groundbreaking legislation making it easy to test driverless cars on public roads, to the efforts of the state's economic developers to connect global startups and investors with the state’s mobility assets, our state is a leader in the development of connected and automated vehicles.

The future of mobility, however, is about more than bringing driverless cars to public roadways. The evolution of mobility demands state, industry, community and higher education leaders working together to deliver a new generation of transportation solutions for all Michiganders.

That is why the State of Michigan has launched PlanetM, a program designed to do four things: create public-private sector working groups, evaluate mobility challenges and solutions, construct viable business models around those solutions, and then create investment channels to fund technology pilots that bring those solutions to life.

Recently, we partnered with city officials and local stakeholders to form the Detroit Mobility Innovation Initiative. This initiative aims to inform the long-term transportation solutions for residents, visitors, and employers in the City of Detroit, while giving corporate partners an opportunity to explore innovative technologies and services.

Partners in this project include Boston Consulting Group, Bedrock/Quicken Loans, DTE Energy, General Motors, Lear Corporation and the New Economy Initiative. Following more than 100 hours of interviews with Detroiters, six solution concepts have been identified for possible deployment and testing in real-world environments:

Pilot Concept 1: A new transportation solution that will dynamically route shuttles and buses based on ride demand. The goal is to drastically improve the transit experience by taking more direct routes and reducing the number of stops.

Pilot Concept 2: A revolutionary car sharing program that will provide low-cost car access to Detroiters through features. The goal is to encourage responsible driving and lower insurance fees and operating costs.

Pilot Concept 3: A comprehensive parking platform that integrates dynamic pricing with a perks program. The goal is to help Detroiters find parking at lower prices while fostering economic development and reducing congestion.

Pilot Concept 4: A public space in the heart of Detroit that residents and visitors can enjoy while fast charging their EVs or learning about the benefits of EV technology, in addition to other state-of-the-art automotive technologies. The goal is to create local engagement and awareness of new transportation technology and options.

Pilot Concept 5: A traffic management system employing connected technology to provide priority to transit vehicles at signalized intersections. The goal is to improve on-time performance.

Pilot Concept 6: A central intelligence hub that sources data from various infrastructures, vehicles, and mobile devices. The goal is to enable the development of solutions that require access to big data to address safety and operational issues within Detroit’s street network.

The Detroit Mobility Innovation Initiative is currently in the pre-pilot stages and expects to deploy the first pilot within the next six months. With the success of this first set of pilots, PlanetM is exploring the creation of a similar initiative in West Michigan.

Michigan is not only the place where big ideas in mobility are born, but also where they come to life.

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