Austin Partners With Corporations to Solve Mobility Problems

The City:One Challenge "puts residents at the center of the mobility conversation"

Austin Partners With Corporations to Solve Mobility Problems

Tired of constant complaints about Austin traffic? You may have the chance to stop whining and start solving Austin's mobility problems with the City:One Challenge, a collaboration between the city and corporate partners including Ford Motor Company, Microsoft, and Dell Technologies. The challenge aims "to help put residents at the center of the mobility conversation" with both in-person and online engagement, and to develop solutions to address key issues that arise from that dialogue, with $100,000 in funding awaiting the best proposals.

Right now, the challenge is in its first phase, where Austinites can "share their mobility experiences" online and at community workshops (the first is Thurs­day, July 18, 5:30pm at the Asian American Resource Center). Beginning Aug. 28, individuals, teams, and companies can submit their ideas for solutions; a short list of 12 finalists will be selected in October to receive mentoring and help develop prototypes. The $100,000 prize will be shared by up to two entries and will fund pilots to test the two solutions.

The city's challenge brief focuses on mobility needs for healthy living in East Austin, although the conversations happening now online at the City:One Challenge hub address issues all over the city. In addition to Austin, Ford is promoting challenges now in Mexico City, Detroit, and Indianapolis; last year, the program debuted in Pittsburgh, Grand Rapids, and Miami. Pilots in those cities are underway now to address long student pickup lines at school campuses and safe transportation for night-shift workers, among other solutions.

This sort of thing sits squarely in Austin's sweet spot – smart mobility, technology, social innovation, etc. – according to Mayor Steve Adler. "Austin has distinguished itself as both a city on the cutting edge of technology and one where community input helps shape solutions," Adler said in a statement announcing the challenge in late June. "Our mobility challenges are an ideal issue to make the focus of these signature attributes."

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