In mid-November, city leaders, community advocates, and mobility providers celebrated the selection of four proposals that will pilot solutions to local mobility issues outlined in the City:One Indianapolis Challenge.
Developed by Ford, the challenge is a community-centered initiative to explore a city’s transportation needs and collaborate on new solutions. Following six months of community workshops and input, local research, and the framing of key mobility issues, applicants submitted 120 proposals to the challenge.
“The challenge focused on furthering our community’s goal of creating affordable, accessible and equitable mobility solutions that support all of our neighbors,” said Brian Payne, president and CEO of Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF). “The topics identified by community members included enhanced options for residents with disabilities, increased multimodal options that complement IndyGo service, tools for neighborhood residents to choose between mobility options, and expanded options for families with children.”
A selection committee of local business and civic leaders along with community members narrowed those ideas to four finalists that were competing for $100,000 in pilot funding from the challenge. The winning pilots will be launched in Indianapolis next year.
“The engagement in the challenge has been outstanding, and Indianapolis and its residents are very passionate about the accessibility of mobility in their community,” said Jeff Jones, vice president of Ford City Solutions. “The strength of the winning ideas and the sheer number of winners reflects the hard work that has gone in to the challenge by the Indianapolis community.”
The first City:One Challenge winner, granted in the amount of $75,000, is the pilot proposal from AbleLink Smart Living Technologies. This project will enhance transportation for individuals with cognitive disabilities using the WayFinder Ecosystem. WayFinder operates on iOS and Android mobile devices and uses GPS and personalized visual, audio and vibration prompts to allow individuals with cognitive disabilities to be able to use fixed route public transportation independently.
The second City:One Challenge winner is a $50,000 pilot proposal from local organization The Learning Tree. This proposal is receiving $25,000 of City:One Challenge funding with an additional $25,000 in matching funds from CICF. The Learning Tree’s “Knowledge = The Power of Mobility” proposal will identify neighbors who are providing alternative transportation to the community and invite them to collect data/stories about why this population (low-income and seniors) do not use public transit, as well as to collect ideas on how to improve access. This data will be shared with major local event sponsors with the goal of creating communications that map out public transit routes to respective venues.
IndyGo will be seeking authorization from its board of directors next month for funding to be used in partnership with CICF to fund two additional pilot proposals from MLK Center and Briometrix .
“We were so impressed by the proposals and eager to facilitate the implementation of more solutions in order to accomplish as many of our strategic goals as possible,” said Inez Evans, president of IndyGo. “This challenge is an excellent example of how the public, private and philanthropic worlds can work collectively to solve mobility barriers in our community.”
IndyGo will partner with the MLK Center to develop and pilot a neighborhood based micro-transit service utilizing wheelchair accessible and family friendly vehicles to connect midtown residents to jobs, school, health care and first/last mile connections to fixed transit routes. In addition, IndyGo will work with Briometrix on its “City on Wheels” proposal to digitally map and assess the health and integrity of 61 miles of sidewalk infrastructure along the Red Line bus rapid transit line. The pilot will employ local residents who use wheelchairs, which will be outfitted with various technologies to map all aspects of the sidewalks. These findings will be used in the development of pedestrian infrastructure along the Purple and Blue Lines.
The City:One Indianapolis Challenge is in collaboration with Ford, AT&T, Dell Technologies and Microsoft and is aimed at co-creating and crowdsourcing ideas that will transform mobility in Central Indiana and beyond. The challenge is hosted by the Indianapolis Personal Mobility Network, with local leadership funding from CICF, Cummins, and John and Sarah Lechleiter, with support from IndyGo and the City of Indianapolis.