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MobileDOCK Helps Connect a Community: Smart Solutions for Problems of Urbanization

MobileDOCK = smart, urban tech; improves traffic around key facilities increasing resident quality of life; adds sustainable city revenues.

Photo of Rick Miller
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The challenge impact area in Detroit is bounded by several significant roadway/highways, as well as specific locations that result in becoming high-density hubs for commercial vehicle traffic, particularly at certain times of the day.  Studies have shown, particularly at peak traffic periods, significant overall traffic congestion is frequently generated by commercial vehicles moving (or attempting to move) around these hubs.  More efficient management of commercial traffic not only improves efficiency, safety, and security of operations at these specific hub locations, it also contributes to significantly reducing congestion in the surrounding road network.  As urban areas grow, or are redeveloped with higher density and mixed-use venues, the commercial vehicle challenges increase exponentially with cascading stresses on residents, infrastructure and the community’s sustainability.

MobileDOCK is a smart, urban technology that manages all commercial traffic, as well as providing solutions for customer/consumer-based transportation needs.

MobileDOCK reduces traffic on the roads in and out of facilities, easing gridlock both on property and in the surrounding community. Scheduling, automated approvals, access control and a number of other functions efficiently get vehicles in and out of facilities. We help manage and improve day-to-day efficiency driving both cost reductions and revenue generation, as well as attendant benefits in security and safety.  Additionally, more effective scheduling eliminates idling on-site for carbon emission reductions contributing to sustainability.

The tool involves all stakeholders for shared situational-awareness. We currently provide coverage for thousands of gates / docks / staging / parking sites with tens of thousands of registered platform users across four continents and millions of previous bookings.

MobileDOCK has proven adaptive and tailorable to a number of different traffic-density hubs. These include not only in-service operations, but planning/design support and construction site-management in greenfield projects and facility expansion developments. In addition to controlling traffic around the building site, the platform aides the lead contractor in controlling on the site itself for enhanced safety and security as well as efficiency improvements in the construction process. In operations, MobileDOCK is also very flexible in the ability to support an Internet-of-Things approach, linking data to existing infrastructure technologies, security, and other IT-solutions in the larger supply chain network.

How MobileDOCK’s various solutions contribute to solving the Detroit/Michigan Central Station Challenge are as follows.

Target Co-located Commercial Traffic Hubs:

  • Implement MobileDOCK for large commercial vehicle traffic locations in or adjacent to the targeted impact area
    • These can include locations such as:
      • The Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) station truck/cargo screening facility near the Ambassador Bridge and SW corner of the target area
      • The Motor City Casino complex in the NE corner of the target area
      • The MGM Grand Casino complex on the E border of the target area
      • Foreman Brothers Inc. transportation and delivery service adjacent to Central Station
      • Other commercial traffic density hubs identified in and around the target area that want to participate
    • MobileDOCK improves visibility and security of vehicles in/out of security-sensitive locations
    • MobileDOCK creates efficiencies for commercial vehicle flow and hub locations
    • Reduces traffic congestion in the target impact area and surrounding key roadways (I-75/96; Martin Luther King Jr Blvd; Grand River Ave; M-10; Rosa Parks Blvd; M-3; etc.)
    • Nominal appointment fees create new revenue stream for City of Detroit to leverage in funding other transportation measures for Central Station area residents
  • Potential to implement MobileDOCK to provide optional opportunity for traveling public to book advanced and reserved parking for privately owned vehicles at venues like MGM Grand and Motor City Casinos
    • Pre-validation speeds parking access
    • Added surcharge for the reserved “valet” spot creates new revenue stream benefiting hosting venues

Longer-term Implications:

  • As areas around Michigan Central Station are re-developed and higher-density projects move into the area, MobileDOCK’s success from this pilot program provides an example to leverage
    • New projects or business expansion over certain sizes and density thresholds can develop commercial vehicle traffic management plans leveraging MobileDOCK to ensure new development does not overburden existing road networks and residents
    • Sustainable solutions are built-in from the start
  • Success of the program in improving traffic and efficiency can encourage large facilities with significant commercial vehicle traffic in the greater Detroit area to consider MobileDOCK implementation
    • Site-specific locations gain efficiency, safety, and security improvements
  • Broader adoption across the city creates opportunity to apply artificial intelligence and machine learning to MobileDOCK collected data improving traffic and urban planning as the city continues to grow and develop
    • Moving beyond single-site optimization, delivery carriers can optimize entire routes when going to multiple MobileDOCK sites
    • City planners can make better data-driven decisions on road infrastructure investments, traffic control plans and other related issues
  • The above implications have been noted in other cities where MobileDOCK implementation has spread to multiple locations
  • In Detroit’s central business district, implementing MobileDOCK to remove curbside delivery zones throughout the core, downtown portion of the city
    • MobileDOCK creates a network of off-street options for commercial vehicles to leverage close to their delivery locations
    • Public-Private Partnership (P3) opportunities to encourage privately-owned facility participation and broader community involvement
    • Removal of commercial street parking greatly reduces traffic congestion; increases safety
    • Network approach creates more options for drivers and appointed times; increases efficiency
    • Lane areas “returned” for other use can be leveraged in numerous ways; more paid parking; improved traffic flow; dedicated mass transit bus or bicycle lanes; wider sidewalks for pedestrian traffic; curbside amenity; etc.
    • Nominal appointment fees create new revenue stream for City of Detroit to fund other transportation measures for residents
    • Opportunity to leverage commercial vehicle movement data to inform city traffic and development planners
    • Feasibility of a Pilot Program:

      We have high confidence in the approach outlined in this application.  MobileDOCK is a proven solution, already running or in planning development at other locations that match, or are similar to, the applications described herein for Detroit. 

      After developing understanding and conceptual buy-in with the potential sites involved, implementation of the phased approached outlined below in the pilot section can begin immediately.  There are no foreseen challenges for implementation start-up to conclude within a six-month timeframe.  Experience has shown site-implementation projects, and the associated change management processes, usually require approximately two months to complete.

      The only minimal infrastructure changes currently anticipated to run the pilot at select locations may be the installation of boom-gates, pin or barcode pads and possible license plate recognition cameras to control access to select locations where currently no access controls are in place.  If selected to continue in the Challenge process, we would refine these requirements during the Refine Phase. 

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

All commercial vehicle traffic and delivery locations designated will be managed through MobileDOCK. Traffic in and out of the CBP station can be better regulated to prevent traffic congestion and also enhance the CBP screening process for vehicles crossing the border. New city revenue generated by all options can benefit Detroit residents with funded follow-on transportation solutions for unique needs.

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Fully Scaled - you have already scaled your solution and are exploring new use cases

Insights from previous testing (500 characters)

Millions of appointments across dozens of sites have statistically proven results: 40% reduction in vehicle dwell time; 50% increased throughput; 30% reduction in required loading bays; 95% of all appointments automatically approved by smart algorithms. Security, safety and site amenity all improved as well.

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

Addressing market gaps between traditional consultants and technology vendors, we combine “real-world,” operationally based industry knowledge with expertise in best-of-breed software applications and related consultancy services to deliver a unique blend of technology-enabled solutions. Our balance of multi-skilled individuals possessing experience, technical, analytical skills with project & change management experience provides value, rigor, and reduces the time to deliver client solutions.

Size of your team or organization

  • 11-50

Team or Organization URL

Are you submitting as a student team?

  • No

Are you submitting as a team from the Impact Area?

  • No

Funding Request

  • $250,000

Rough Budget (500 characters)

• Provision CBP station: $150K • Provision MGM Grand Casino (or similar facility) commercial deliveries: $25K • Provision Motor City Casino (or similar facility) commercial deliveries: $25K • Provision Foreman Brothers (or similar facility): $20K • Initial test-period: $30K *With option to add more sites as community identifies

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

Phase 1: Conduct briefings, awareness campaign and gain approvals from city and CBP officials. Phase 2: Conduct briefings and general awareness campaign for area residents, facility tenants, delivery carrier networks. Phase 3: Implementation of MobileDOCK provisioning and change management program for CBP station cargo/commercial vehicles. Phase 4A: Implementation of MobileDOCK provisioning and change management program for MGM Grand Casino solution. Phase 4B: Implementation of MobileDOCK provisioning and change management program for Motor City Casino solution. Phase 4C: Implementation of MobileDOCK provisioning and change management program for Foreman Brothers solution. (NOTE: Phase 4 activities run concurrently) Phase 5: Monitor and adjust implementation as required; collect revenues for City of Detroit transportation fund. (NOTE: Phase 5 for each application begins once implemented in a rolling sequence)

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

With full implementation as described, MobileDOCK will deliver notable reductions in congestion and traffic in and around the Michigan Central Station impact area. Inherent metrics, tracking and analytics embedded in the software will allow delivery companies to monitor and track efficiency improvements. Delivery sites will have advanced notification and increased security for vehicles presenting to their locations. CBP will gain greater visibility and control of cross-border vehicle traffic. Optional use for private autos at the casino locations can generate additional revenues for those sites and encourage their participation. Finally, every City of Detroit dollar generated by MobileDOCK use can be returned directly to the other transportation needs of the citizens in the area.

Sustainability Plan (500 characters)

MobileDOCK is sustainable from Day #1! The platform is already proven and commercially viable elsewhere. Even during the Challenge pilot-test phase, MobileDOCK can generate revenue to sustain its on-going operations, as well as generate revenues for the City of Detroit to apply to other transportation challenges facing residents in the target impact area of interest.

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1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Boratha Tan

Thanks @Rick Miller @Rick Miller for submitting! I am part of the facilitation team for City:One. I was wondering why you have focused on the casinos as part of the rough budget. I also want to point out that the Gordie Howe bridge is being planned for construction soon, so there would be even more commercial traffic there. Finally, can MobileDOCK let public transit know when optimal times and what optimal routes are for its customers?