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There are mobility options in the Michigan Central Station area and they're expanding. Now people need to know hot to use them.

Photo of Mikki Hendrix
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My solution is improving way finding signage. There's a lot of options to get in, out and around the city from Corktown but people aren't well versed in existing public transit, bike share scooters etc. to really help residents community members commuters and visitors, I believe the best solution is an holistic one that offers access to all. This includes youth, seniors, people with disabilities etc. 

Adding way finding signs throughout the provided footprint will allow people to see the following:

A. Mobility exists in this area 

B. Here's what the options are 

C. Here's where they go

D. Here's more information to help me find out how. 

Adding way finding signs both high and low tech to the area, including outside of major businesses/destinations, at major bus stops, at the MoGo stops and by parking lots can help people at high volume locations and residential destinations. Th high tech signage would include real time data on key locations, will help people learn their options in real time as well as let them know there are options. 

This solution will include information on what buses serve the area, what the stops look like, how many bikes are currently docked and the stations, where they are in the area, when the next bus is coming and show a system map. This will also have transit app information, a one stop shop for people to plan trips using their phones. The app is free and includes scooters, MoGo, DDOT,  and SMART.

The low tech options can simply be added to street poles directing people to MoGo stations, bus stops, major destinations and neighborhoods. 

This addresses the direct problem (seen both at the Ford workshops and throughout) that people do not know where to start when it comes to getting around outside of their cars. People expressed not knowing the routes, or where the stops were and many expressed very dated ideas of public transit in Detroit either not being frequent, not being reliable or simply not existing. 

This solution of way finding is flexible, sustainable, and easy to scale. It allows the solution to fit all types of residents, commuters and walks of life and it allows what's already being done with improvements to transit, infrastructure and development to keep happening. It also wouldn't be difficult to keep updated and current. As new mobility options come in to play or route improvements happen, that can be added. If a MoGo station or bus stop moves a block or two, that can be updated as well. 

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

Two 24 hour bus routes with good frequency, an express route that connects to Midtown, two neighborhood routes, a regional route that connects Michigan Ave. to the DTW airport, commuter routes that connect to park and ride lots in the suburbs to Downtown via Michigan Ave. two MoGo stations, plenty of scooters, Uber Lyft, zip car, a bike shop etc. The area around Michigan Central station has mobility options that work. They work for seniors, they work for youth, they work for employees and employers. My solution acknowledges all the current mobility options as well as neighborhood plans, developments and destinations. Way finding connects people to these existing options and helps them figure out how to use them. This solution would benefit those in the area by giving them to tools they need to get around and feel more comfortable getting around the Michigan Central Station impact area, Detroit and a large part of Metro Detroit.

Describe your solution's stage of development

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

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

My team would be made up of colleagues that work in mobility and understand the mobility options as well as the impact area itself. We are urban planners that work regularly in this impact area and across the city. We have backgrounds in design, community engagement, zoning and mapping to properly execute mock ups, identify locations and create this solution.

Size of your team or organization

  • 2-10

Funding Request

  • $200,000

Rough Budget (500 characters)

My funding request includes purchasing the high tech and low tech signs, accessories such as zip ties and a contract to order more when they need to be updated due to changes and improvements in the area. I'd also invest in getting them translated. This area is diverse in Spanish and Arabic and I'd want to include signage that caters to that population.

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

During the pilot phase, I would start but surveying people and craeteing a focus group of people who use mobility in teh impact area and those who don't. I'd be sure to include some extremes, of people who don't know where to start and who have used MoGo, the Scooters ride the bus regularly etc. From there, I'd work on some drawings of the way finding materials ensuring that the big questions are answered then start by zip tying major destinations like Roosevelt park, major intersections Bus stops and MoGo stations. From there, we'd look into the high tech options and programming options to show the specific information and real time data for the area. Only investing in a couple, those would be positioned at Michigan Central station and one more two more very high volume locations.

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

I would measure success of this pilot by ridership and usage data. I'd expect to see ridership go up for the bus routes in the area, MoGo usage increase and scooter usage increase. I'd also do a survey before and during the pilot to see how aware employers and local businesses are of the mobility options and if they've seen an increase in transit and mobility usage by employees or visitors.

Sustainability Plan (500 characters)

Yes. I would propose this to be a part of a city wide effort in improving neighborhoods. Including Corktown,and the city of Detroit's Transportation strategic plan. If and when this is shown to be a success, I think both the city and local organizations would be interested in the small costs of sustaining this to create and improve access to their businesses, jobs, and for their residents.


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Photo of Boratha Tan

Really well thought-out proposal, Mikki Hendrix ! I was just wondering if you could explain more on the "two 24 hour bus routes"... what are your thoughts as to how your team can achieve this, would the transit authority request funding (as part of this grant), etc...

Photo of Mikki Hendrix

The 24 hour routes are already up and running. Routes 1 Vernor (connecting Downtown Detroit to E Downtown Dearborn and 1 Michigan (connecting Downtown Detroit to Fairlane Town Center also in Dearborn) have 24 hour service and run every 20 minutes during rush hour.

Photo of Boratha Tan

Got it, thanks! Looks like I'm one of those that does need signage about these routes and timing!

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