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State grants $ 4.7 million in grants for 4 mobility projects



Michigan Economic Development Corp. has awarded $ 4.7 million for grants to transport agencies and mobility companies to develop new transit opportunities for seniors, veterans, and disabled residents in the Detroit, Grand Rapids, and State Metro communities.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, her new transport director Paul Ajegba and MEDC officials announced the grants Tuesday morning at the North American International Car Show, which Whitmer attends for the first time as governor.

The grant is the second round of payouts from the state's $ 8 million Michigan Mobility Challenge, launched under former governments Rick Snyder, to fill gaps in mobility opportunities for people without access to personal transport.

"Often when we talk about mobility, we tend to go straight to self-driving cars and autonomous vehicles," Whitmer said. "What we really need to talk about is how this technology and innovation is happening right now can affect and improve the quality of life of people, not just here in Detroit and our city centers."

Granted grants include: [1

9659006] $ 2.17 million for New Autonomous Mobility Vision for Michigan to launch an autonomous electric shuttle at the Battle Creek Veterans Administration Medical Center. New Hudson-based Pratt & Miller Engineering leads the project with the assistance of Western Michigan University, University of Michigan, Kevadiya Inc., Robotic Research, Comet Mobility and Easterseals.
  • $ 1.18 million for the Michigan Universal Vehicle Ecosystem Pilot, a project designed to create a ride-part platform in the Central Upper Peninsula. The initiative involves human service and transport agencies in three central U.P. counties.
  • $ 1.05 million to the Southeast Michigan Integrated Platform for Paratransit Services, a collaboration between SMART, the Detroit Department of Transportation and the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority to set up an online booking platform for a single click to schedule paratrooping tours between Metro Detroit's three major mass transit agencies . The regional transit authority in Southeast Michigan leads the project with the assistance of AAATA, DDOT, SMART, SEMCOG, Area Agency on Aging 1B and Menlo Innovations.
  • $ 373,782 for Team Grand Rapids: Interurban Transit Partnership to Develop a Rideshare App for Paratransit Services in Grand Rapids. The fast regional bus system in Grand Rapids, the city, Handicap Advocates of Kent County and Via aims to shorten the duration of paratrooper and reservation time.
  • "These pilots will introduce some dynamic riders and autonomous technologies in places where it's a little difficult to get around," said Trevor Pawl, group vice president of mobility, supply chain, and commerce for Michigan Economic Development Corp.

    Kimberly Kennedy, an American marine veteran and handicap advocate from Grand Rapids, joined Whitmer, Pawl, Mason and Ajegba on the stage of the auto show for the grant announcement in his wheelchair. She talked about the effect that the Grand Rapids project will have on her quality of life.

    She said that more efficient and reliable paratransit services are essential for disabled people to come to doctors' agreements, work and leisure activities.

    "Many times with Uber … (the drivers) would ride past me when they saw me sitting outside in the wheelchair," she said. "To get an app where I can just click on and (request a trip) on-demand is just amazing."

    When funding expires, mobility initiatives will be funded by "local rates and local partners," Pawl said.


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