CONNECT AND PROSPER: Accelerating Mobility & Accessibility Opportunities for Michigan is a forum, or “link tank” that brings together transportation, business, government, and community leaders from across the region to connect and enhance sustainable transportation and accessibility initiatives region-wide, and to help rekindle Michigan’s role as a major center of transportation innovation and business opportunity. Building on current efforts in Michigan, it works to:
In parallel with other US and international SMART pilots, the effort encourages a “connect the dots”, or systems approach to ensure much-needed implementation of integrated, sustainable, and socially equitable transportation in Southeast Michigan and beyond. It also works to explore and stimulate new business, employment, and leadership opportunities related to Southeast Michigan’s unique place in the emerging global New Mobility industry (see SMART’s website, http://um-smart.org for background).
There is a timely context for this effort. We are at a moment in history in which, by bringing together new approaches, innovations, business models and policies, we can begin to address the challenges of moving people and goods within a realigning economy and an urbanizing, and demographically shifting world. In this setting, innovative, integrative, practical solutions are essential both in terms of quality of life for citizens, and in terms of survival of our cities and regional economies. This is doubly true in Michigan where development has reflected an iconically auto-motive culture and infrastructure, leaving few transportation options for seniors, youths, the poor, the disabled, and even visitors.
The origin of this effort has been organic and responsive. While in many ways it has been a tough time for the world (and for Michigan in particular) there are also many innovative and hopeful transportation and accessibility-related projects and plans in the works. However, with so much focus on specific individual initiatives, there has been very little focus on bringing them together in ways that will provide an integrated (and therefore feasible) door-to-door experience for the user, and that will provide a connected, region-wide and state-wide system that is ready to benefit from current and upcoming federal and other funding opportunities. This forum begins to address these connectivity gaps.
For more information, contact Susan Zielinski at firstname.lastname@example.org.