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Southwest Mobility Stations

Mobility Stations including emergency phone, interactive maps, dining/entertainment guides and act as a hub for different modes of transport

Photo of Heidi Raubenolt
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When the 11th grade girls of Mercy Education Project were asked about mobility in their neighborhood, Southwest Detroit, they identified two key concerns: Getting around safely and feeling isolated from the greater city. Because Detroit is so geographically large and lacks an all-encompassing and dynamic transportation and communication system, these young residents feel disconnected.  Mobility Stations look at mobility thought the eyes of youth who are not able to utilize a car, but still need to get around their city, while also contributing to a quality visitor, tourist and worker experience. 

Each mobility station will be a well lit, enclosed kiosk equipped with the following:

  • Interactive way-finding signs and maps to communicate how far someone is from the next mobility station, Michigan Central Station and Downtown. The routes shown to these locations will take into consideration safety, among other factors. 
  • Parking options and bus schedules via an interactive electronic screen.
  • Local restaurant, retail, entertainment and cultural enrichment information via an interactive electronic screen.
  • Other information the neighborhoods within the impact zone would like to advertise to increase tourism and support the local economy. 
  • Branding and decor that reflects that particular neighborhood's culture, history and values. 
  • Trash and recycling receptacles. 

Safety Features will include:

  • A direct line to the police department and/or other emergency departments.
  • Reinforced glass or other sturdy material, security cameras and signage advertising each station as a "Safe Spot" for pick up and drop off of residents under 18 years of age.
  • Security personnel who patrol the neighborhood through a partnership with the Detroit Police Department. 

Around the kiosk would be a central location for third party transportation companies, including:

  •  A MoGo bike installation 
  • A "landing spot" for scooters to be picked up and dropped off
  • Automotive ride-share (Uber, Lyft)
  • A park and ride location, if space permits

Each station will be located within a high-density area in each neighborhood, (Corktown, North Corktown, Southwest). This means a location close to local businesses and organizations that are vital to the residents and neighborhood economy, well lit and maintained intersections, and a location that already has heavy foot and automobile traffic. Not only will this help the station user to feel secure, but will also provide the largest sample of data to be collected in the pilot phase.

Due to past experiences with failed initiatives to combat blight and crime, many current residents are skeptical of new “safe places”. Therefore, it is crucial to have resident input and participation in the development, placement and ongoing success of each station. 

The number of Mobility Stations is dependent on funding, however the girls of Mercy Education Project would like to propose three in the impact area as a pilot to determine effectiveness of the idea. One Mobility Station would be placed in each of these three communities: North Corktown, Corktown and Southwest. Each station will create an inviting mobility and information hub within the neighborhood/intersection it is located for residents, workers and tourist alike.

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

Mobility Stations will connect residents, workers and visitors throughout Detroit all starting at the Michigan Central Station. Each station will provide information, mobility options and a sense of safety. The impact zone touches major high density Detroit neighborhoods. Piloting these mobility stations within the impact zone would connect Southwest Detroit, Corktown and North Corktown, and provide a gateway to Cass Corridor, downtown, and Midtown, removing each region from their current silo, promoting mobility within the impact zone and positively impacting the local economy. Mobility Stations will contribute to people moving around freely with various options while they enjoy a night out in the impact zone, residents getting around easily in their daily routine and offering youth a safe route.

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 are still in the design phase, exploring the idea and it's feasibility. We have created the Mobility Station digitally and polled individuals, particularly teens about what type of features and information they would like to see at each station.

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

Mercy Education Project (MEP) is a non-profit organization within the impact zone that is passionate about empowering women and girls by providing resources in education, life skills and cultural enrichment. Our team consists of 1 instructor and 11 high school girls who attend MEP's weekly College and Career Readiness program. Each girl attends a high school that will be impacted by Ford being at Michigan Central Station as well as their personal place of residence.

Size of your team or organization

  • 11-50

Team or Organization URL

Are you submitting as a student team?

  • Yes

Are you submitting as a team from the Impact Area?

  • Yes

Funding Request

  • $200,000

Rough Budget (500 characters)

This is a very rough estimate of how funds would be spent. This is subject to change based on further exploration of the idea and the possible commitment of community, corporate and/or government funding. Employee Salaries and Benefits: $72,000 Vehicle Expenses (to transport students): $2,000 IT Consulting/Development: $40,000 + In-kind donations from community partners Building/Construction Materials & Labor: $86,000 + In-kind donations from community partners

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

During the pilot phase, we will spend time carefully thinking through the idea and logistics of getting the Mobility Stations up and running. This will require the involvement and expertise of not only our student team, but other MEP staff, board members, volunteers, city department personnel, Michigan Central Station team members and community members. The Challenge funding will be used to plan, develop and build three mobility stations and place them within the impact zone. This will include some MEP staff time for coordination and evaluation of the effort and the youth team, however MEP will also supply internal resources such as staff time from the Executive Director, Program Manager, Volunteer Coordinator and administrative support.

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

Utilization of each Mobility Station will be measured electronically by the dynamic, interactive system. We envision a Google Analytics type report on use of the interactive digital screens in each station. We will also track the number of emergency calls placed at each station through a potential partnership with the Detroit Police Department. Resident, worker, business owner and visitor feedback will be gathered in various ways through the use of surveys, focus groups, etc. Third party mobility partners (MoGo, Uber, etc.) will be asked for feedback and data on the use of their services near the stations.

Sustainability Plan (500 characters)

Our hope is that if the pilot proves successful, funds will be raised to reproduce and place new Mobility Stations throughout the city, building a fully dynamic system. We also hope to enlist community partners in the task of keeping each station functional and with relevant, current content. Corporate or city funding, sponsorship or a combination of sources could finance each Mobility Station. Corporate, city and community partnerships will be crucial to the ongoing success of this project.

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