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Build Sheltered “Mobility Hubs” to Increase Public and Private Transit Use

To increase public and private transit use, we want to create sheltered mobility hubs providing a variety of mobility solutions to residents

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In 2018, Detroit bucked the national trend and increased bus and paratransit ridership numbers by 240,000. This is great news and as a city we should work to build on this momentum to increase ridership numbers even further. 

Our proposal to achieve this is to create “Mobility Hubs” in the Corktown area that will work to increase public transit use as well as the adoption of private last mile solutions to make the area an example of what the future of mobility can look like in Detroit starting in the MCS impact area. 

A study by the University of Utah found that bus stops upgraded with a shelter, benches, and adjacent sidewalks dramatically increased ridership. In addition, properly designed shelters can reduce particulate matter exposure for riders. In the DDOT transit system across Detroit, there are more than 5,500 bus stops, only 200 of which have bus shelters. In the MCS impact area, there are 93 DDOT stops of which only 3 have shelters. 

The concept behind the mobility hubs are to remove barriers that prevent people from having access to different transportation solutions. The hubs would create safe, accessible, and attractive places to access services including DDOT and SMART buses, bike-sharing, shuttle services, and micro-mobility options (dockless bike and Spin scooters). Our proposal incorporates the traditional bus shelter (covered and lit place to wait for the bus with bench and trash-can) along with other transit features to help bridge the last-mile connection (such as bike and scooter racks, MoGo station) for people living in the MCS impact area. We will work with third party stakeholders to ensure these shelters provide other last mile mobility solutions to draw users to the Hubs while encouraging community engagement to “adopt” or participate in the painting of the Hubs. Finally, these Hubs will be equipped with Detroit’s Project Green Light cameras to provide 24 hour safety for riders and expand the City’s Project Green Light program.

How will your solution benefit residents, workers, or visitors in the Michigan Central Station impact area? (1,000 characters)

This solution will provide a safe, comfortable, and healthier way to use transit in Detroit for residents, visitors, and workers in the MCS impact area both currently and in the future. These hubs would provide users with an accessible, safe, and attractive place to utilize different transportation services that includes traditional bus service, shared mobility (ride/car-sharing), and micro-mobility (bikes/scooters). The additional lighting, "eyes on the street" and greenlight cameras should also improve public safety (and therefore reducing police operations costs). All of this together, will render the area more financially attractive for future investment (and therefore more opportunity).

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Initial Design - you are still exploring the idea and have not tested it with users

Insights from previous testing (500 characters)

We have spoken with many transit professionals both working for the City of Detroit as well as other fellow bus/scooter/private mobility users. We’ve identified two possible issues: 1) approval to place mobility hubs in the public right of way (requires permits) and 2) cost of infrastructure needed to power facilities. To mitigate these concerns, we would utilize solar power for the lights and cameras and to primarily use RoW controlled by the City itself.

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

We are a group of Detroiters passionate about increasing transit usage and adoption in the City of Detroit and beyond. We believe that access to affordable and reliable transportation is a fundamental piece for access to employment and for improving the quality of life, and we are working to remove barriers both large and small for wide scale public transit adoption and last mile mobility solutions.

Size of your team or organization

  • 2-10

Are you submitting as a student team?

  • No

Are you submitting as a team from the Impact Area?

  • No

Funding Request

  • $150,000

Rough Budget (500 characters)

Based on conversations with City employees and outside research, we approximate that the covered shelter would cost approximately of $25K/location. Our cost breakdown is as follows: $10K for shelter $10K for site infrastructure (concrete, camera etc.) $2K for bike rack $2K for signage $1K for bench In addition, marketing costs are estimated to be between $10-20k. After including incidentals, maintenance, and more, our budget request is $150,000.

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

The initial 5 locations we are proposing to build mobility hubs would be strategically located at these locations in the MCS impact area that maximize connectivity to other parts of Detroit using existing DDOT and SMART services: Michigan Central Station (SMART 200, 255; DDOT 2, 89), Trumbull and Michigan (SMART 200, 255; DDOT 2, 29, 89), Trumbull and Bagley (DDOT 1, 29), and MLK and 14th Street (DDOT 18, 47). Additionally, several of these locations are located near Detroit Public Schools where many students utilize public transportation to get to and from school. We could put a location at Michigan & Washington Blvd to connect to downtown. Connecting Corktown to downtown is an important factor in long term ROI for the project. We would encourage community engagement in the design, painting, and possible “adoption” to help the hubs be a source of pride. Ideally, they would be a unique attraction for visitors and another draw to the area further reinforcing the “hub” concept.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

Our primary target users are 1) Detroiters who don’t have access to a vehicle 2) Detroiters who would prefer to use alternative forms of transportation to get around Detroit and 3) students at nearby schools. Our proposal would also foster an improved and more dignified experience when using public transit by providing bus shelters that represent a source of pride for the rider which will also incentivizing demand. To determine our impact, we would measure the following: Number of transit users on a weekly basis compared to before the hub was created, customer/rider satisfaction, and usage of alternative forms of transportation. Studies show that covered shelters increase transit usage and we want to confirm this. We also want to test if the Hub format increases use of other proposed last mile solutions listed previously.

Sustainability Plan (500 characters)

We will need to establish partnerships with community based organizations to ensure their use and help with awareness and engagement. Initial organizations could be with Ford, the Detroit Regional Partnership, City of Detroit, community organizations, and more. In addition, there will be sponsorship and advertising opportunities to help ensure financial viability. Potential internet connectivity could also provide revenue opportunity.

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Photo of Mark Green

Hi Boratha,
Thanks for commenting!
There are a lot of open source documents out there on how to build shuttles/mobility hubs. I attached one option from the Better Block Foundation in the submission. Happy to provide more if desired. I understand the City of Detroit also has design requirements so it would be important to work with them to ensure they satisfy any municipal requirements of design. We have spoken with City employees about this and think with Ford's help it is a challenge we could solve. The more sustainable and modular the design the preferred.

Regarding your hubs question, are you asking about getting people to the hubs in Corktown or getting Corktown residents to the hubs?

To those who are too far from bus stops, then I wonder if biking/scooter are preferred options to get to the Hub. Since Ford owns Spin, they might be able to identify where are the biggest gaps between bus stops and accessibility (for example, where using transit is a barrier because it's too far to walk). I wonder if a pilot like the Lyft + City of Detroit would work where there could be financial support for using scooters/bikes to get to a hub.

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