Detroit, MI (June 29, 2020) — A new pilot program has launched in the City of Detroit to connect essential workers to reliable, safe transportation to and from frontline jobs during COVID-19 pandemic recovery. The program, which matches participating employees with electric bikes and scooters and builds on the efforts the city has undertaken to expand access to affordable mobility for residents, is the result of a collaborative partnership led by Detroit’s Office of Mobility Innovation (OMI), NUMO (the New Urban Mobility alliance) and NextEnergy.
“Our essential workers are vital in overcoming this crisis,” said Harriet Tregoning, director of NUMO, “but they face tremendous daily challenges such as lack of access to reliable, safe and convenient transportation to and from work. This pilot program is designed to alleviate that burden by providing low-cost mobility for those who need it most.”
With funding and technical assistance provided by NUMO, OMI is leading the pilot in partnership with NextEnergy, which is serving as the local fiduciary. Micromobility service operators Spin and MoGo are providing an initial fleet of 125 e-bikes and 150 e-scooters, and General Motors donated Ariv e-bikes to be used for the pilot.
The e-scooters and e-bikes will be individually leased to hospital, grocery store, pharmacy, manufacturing and other Detroit-based employees living within six miles of their place of employment. OMI is collaborating directly with Detroit employers to identify individuals who might benefit from this program. Vehicle distribution began last week for the initial group of employees. Additional participating employers and employees will be added to the program until the fleet of vehicles has been utilized. The pilot is scheduled to run for 16 weeks. Participating employees will also receive information on the safe use of e-scooters and e-bikes, access to route-planning apps and equipment including helmets and locks.
“Mobility is critical to Detroiters’ ability to access opportunity. Providing additional commuting options to our residents that are safe, affordable and convenient will accelerate our response and recovery from this pandemic,” said Mark de la Vergne, Detroit’s chief of mobility innovation. “I cannot understate the value of partnerships in establishing this pilot and appreciate all of the contributions provided by NUMO, MoGo, Spin, NextEnergy and General Motors.”
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Jim Saber, Chief Executive Officer, NextEnergy
"We are proud to help provide essential workers in Detroit with clean and accessible mobility options through this public-private partnership."
Mark Reuss, President of General Motors
"Step one for our essential workforce in the fight against the pandemic is getting to work, and General Motors is happy to offer solutions to any potential mobility issues. From building ventilators to making masks and other personal protection equipment, the men and women of GM have stepped up throughout this crisis to help, so providing Ariv e-bikes to help Detroit's essential workers commute to their important jobs is a natural fit for us. We're pleased to support this important pilot."
Lisa Nuszkowski, Founder & Executive Director of MoGo
MoGo has helped tens of thousands of people get where they need to go in our three years of operation, and we are delighted to be part of a program that provides more Detroiters with affordable, reliable transportation via Ariv e-bikes.”
Ben Bear, Chief Business Officer at Spin
“Over the past few months we partnered with the City of Detroit to fill in public transit service gaps and provide essential healthcare workers with free rides through our Everyday Heroes program. We found that more Detroiters than ever before were relying on our service as their primary mode of transportation. We are excited to participate in this first of its kind public-private partnership facilitated by the City of Detroit, NextEnergy and NUMO because it brings reliable transportation to more Detroiters than ever and offers an innovative approach to transportation equity that offers a potential blueprint for other cities to follow.”
NUMO, the New Urban Mobility alliance, is a global organization that channels tech-based disruptions in urban transport to create joyful cities where sustainable and just mobility is the new normal. Founded in 2019 as an outgrowth of the Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities, NUMO convenes diverse allies and leverages the momentum of significant revolutions in mobility to target urban issues — including equity, sustainability, accessibility and labor — impacted by the shifting transportation landscape. NUMO is hosted by WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities.
About the Detroit Office of Mobility Innovation
The Office of Mobility Innovation (OMI) was established in 2016 by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan to launch new mobility services that would benefit all Detroit residents. OMI works in partnership with the Detroit Department of Transportation and the Department of Public Works to make it easier, safer, and more affordable for Detroiters to get around.
Founded in 2002 as 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, NextEnergy works with innovators to accelerate smarter, cleaner, more accessible solutions for communities and cities. Since its inception, NextEnergy has worked with more than 400 companies, universities, federal agencies and philanthropic organizations to drive more than $1.5 billion in advanced energy and mobility technology investments. Based in the center of Detroit’s growing innovation district with access to a microgrid, smart home, electric vehicle charging infrastructure and an alternative fuels platform, NextEnergy demonstrates and pilots technologies in real-world environments to gather data and diverse user-experiences. This process helps quickly scale and deploy solutions by accelerating commercialization with a specific focus on smart mobility and smart grid.
Header image: Detroit Office of Mobility Innovation