Ford Motor Company and Miami-Dade County are working closely with public stakeholders and companies including AT&T, Dell Technologies and Microsoft to launch the Miami-Dade City of Tomorrow Challenge – a crowdsourcing platform for residents, businesses and community groups to propose and pilot solutions that improve mobility in Miami-Dade County.
As urban populations surge and new technologies emerge, the ways people move around cities are changing. In Miami-Dade, for example, the population has increased 7.8 percent since 2010 while commuting times are 15 percent worse than the national average, according to the Miami-Dade Transportation Planning Organization. With the increase in congestion in Miami-Dade, it is important that residents are at the center of the conversation so their unique pain points can be addressed.
Solutions to many mobility issues already exist in some form, but it’s about creating a more inclusive process so that communities and entrepreneurs have a space to contribute their ideas. This is why Ford has created the City of Tomorrow Challenge. By working with communities to crowdsource new mobility designs and innovations and funding pilots to test the top solutions, the program’s goal in Miami-Dade is to identify meaningful opportunities to create immediate impact for residents and support long-term improvements to how people get around.
The Miami-Dade City of Tomorrow Challenge is also part of Ford’s continued collaboration with Miami-Dade County and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos A. Giménez. Ford recently launched its self-driving vehicle business in Miami-Dade County, which is focused on proving out the self-driving business model and testing the customer experience to serve residents and businesses.
“Miami-Dade has some of the longest commuting times in the United States, so we want to help our residents by making it easier to get the information they need to plan their commutes – and build their confidence in all of the options available to them,” said Giménez. “We have joined the City of Tomorrow Challenge because we believe we can strengthen our approach to new mobility by collaborating on new ideas that address our most pressing transportation problems. Great ideas can come from anyone – no matter if they’re college students, business professionals or commercial drivers.”
Throughout the eight-month program, Miami-Dade will explore how the County can make daily journeys fresh and adaptable to the needs of its people. Residents, businesses and community organizations are invited to share how they experience transportation in Miami-Dade, and how mobility either enables them or serves as a barrier to accessing their daily needs. The Challenge also includes a prize of up to $100,000 to fund pilots that test the top solutions in a real-world setting.
“I am thrilled to see the City of Tomorrow Challenge coming together here in Miami-Dade,” said Carlos Cruz-Casas, assistant director, transportation strategic planning, Miami-Dade County Department of Transportation and Public Works. “It arrives at a perfect time as we look for innovative ways to improve mobility through the deployment of technology solutions that are sensitive to our community’s needs. The Challenge is a unique approach to solving the problems we work on daily. It will help us create a process to better understand the context of our neighborhoods to then match them with the appropriate mobility solution.”
Miami-Dade marks the second location for the City of Tomorrow Challenge, following last week’s announcement of a challenge in Pittsburgh. Each is tailored to a specific city or county and is focused on addressing those unique needs.
“We know that every city and county is unique, which is why the City of Tomorrow Challenge isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach,” said John Kwant, vice president, Ford City Solutions. “Miami-Dade understands the need to seek out new ideas to improve the way its residents get around, and our goal is to provide the county with an easy, efficient way to engage people and do just that.”
Ford and its partners are working to create a process in which communities can engage in the discussion so that all partners, cities and counties can understand how to work together to best serve their needs. By crowdsourcing ideas, the goal is to come up with ways to employ technology to build the city of tomorrow and enable communities to use partner technology to create the best mobility solutions.
“Microsoft believes the promise of a smart, connected city can only come to fruition by working with trusted partners like Ford to provide technology that empowers counties like Miami-Dade to create benefits for everyone – including cities that are safer, with lower emissions, and are more inclusive and easier to get around,” said Mike Geertsen, director, government solutions, Microsoft. “The power of technology not only will help societies thrive, but help them catch up to the demands modern cities and their citizens are asking for.”
How it works – and how you can get involved
People can go to the Challenge’s website to share their experiences, sign up for community working sessions, and offer insight into the variety of ways they move around Miami-Dade today. On July 9, the application period opens and participants can submit ideas for new mobility solutions.
Before then, Ford and others will be combining insights from the online and offline communities with data analytics to help shape the Challenge. “Data is powerful. Having information to predict, learn and make near-real-time decisions means communities can address the social and environmental challenges their people face,” said Michael Zeto, vice president, AT&T internet of things and general manager, smart cities. “And we’re excited to collaborate with Miami-Dade and the City of Tomorrow Challenge to do exactly that.”
In September, semifinalists will be selected to attend a prototyping session and receive mentoring support to refine their ideas before submitting a final pilot proposal. At the concluding stage of the Challenge, $100,000 will be awarded to fund pilots to test the top proposed solutions in collaboration with Miami-Dade County, Ford and its corporate partners.
“Hearing from the people of Miami-Dade about their experiences is the best way to develop solutions that actually work for them,” said Kwant. “We want as many people and groups as possible to participate and make this a truly collaborative effort.”