Traveling around the world, there is a class of transport available in most countries that is missing from the US. The tuk-tuk, cocotaxi, chingchi, or chand gari are all variations of the auto-rickshaw. These light, nimble last-mile transports offer a mobility solution that fits within our current infrastructure and could be part of a mobility system that reduces pollution, connects neighborhoods to major public transportation corridors (and downtown), and offers small, independent, low-capital businesses to the people of Detroit.
Tuk-tuks can reduce pollution. There are currently many all-electric tuk-tuks on the market. The small size of these vehicles makes all-electric operation easier, reducing the size of batteries and reducing recharge time. In addition, the small cabin size reduces the energy needed for rider comfort (heat, etc.)
Tuk-tuks can connect the neighborhoods to transportation hubs and the city center. They are a solution for near distance travel making them a perfect solution to hook up a place like Corktown to downtown. They do not require heavy, large vehicles on fixed routes, which allows them to fan out into Detroit's less densely populated neighborhoods. They also offer significant advantages over bikeshares and scooters: they can be made to be climate controlled (for those Michigan winters) and they are also more safe.
Tuk-tuks can offer social mobility. "Detroit hustles harder" Everyday, I see Detroiters working with what they have, from kids selling water to food carts to people making hand-painted t-shirts. Despite the wealth, education, and income gap, the people of Detroit are starting small businesses everyday. However, Detroit is, for many of its citizens, a place with little access to capital. The small scale of the auto-rickshaw is matched by a small price tag(coming in at somewhere around 5%-15% of the price of a car). Allowing Detroiters to lease a low-cost vehicle for the purpose of running a small taxi or delivery service would allow a flood of new micro-businesses to flourish.