Accessible
Streets Studio

Connecting neighborhoods by solving mobility challenges

A collaboration between Ford’s Michigan Central and Newlab, the Accessible Streets Studio focuses on making everyday life more navigable and creating opportunities for the residents of Detroit. The Studio, which will ultimately live within the Michigan Central mobility innovation district in Corktown, aims to connect communities around Michigan Central Station by developing solutions to address transportation challenges and bridge accessibility gaps.

The Studio brings together Detroiters, civic stakeholders, startups, and industry experts to co-design high-impact, innovative solutions to address community needs in a meaningful and impactful manner.

Photo courtesy of Spin Streets program. For more information please contact [email protected], additional project details can be found here.


Be part of Detroit’s multimodal future. The Accessible Streets Studio seeks partners invested in creating opportunities and shaping more equitable mobility systems.

Key Dates
Open Call Info Sessions
January 21 & February 11
Open Call deadline
February 24
Semi-Finalists notified
March
Selection Workshop
End of March
Finalists selected
April
Pilot design
May - June
Pilots launch on rolling basis
June - September
Demo Day
October
Focus Areas
Bridging Transportation Gaps

In a sprawling city like Detroit, public transportation options can be limited or prohibitively far away. Meeting residents where they are helps connect the dots to create more navigable neighborhoods. Having additional options to get you from those first/last mile destinations are key.

Fostering Safe and Welcoming Streets

Enhanced mobility means rethinking modes of transportation from the ground up. This means streets that are more accessible for pedestrians, people with disabilities, public transit riders, and people using micro-mobility services.

Access to Mobility Information

New services and existing initiatives need to be able to talk to each other—and to those using them every day. Making transportation information systems more connected and intuitive will enhance many elements of Detroiters’ lives, from the daily commute to intercommunity travel. There’s opportunity to work towards a better connected network across the city when it comes to the types of modes available, where they’re available, and the ability to access this information without a smartphone.

Access to Essential Resources

Even basic necessities like groceries can be out of reach without access to transportation. New mobility services are a gateway to opportunities and essential resources for employment, healthcare, education, and more. In addition to making it easier for residents to reach essential resources, there’s an opportunity to use mobility innovation as a means to bring resources to neighborhoods and to resident’s front doors.

Locations


Exact pilot locations will be determined in collaboration with selected startups during the pilot design phase. Areas where the pilots may be deployed include the following Detroit neighborhoods:

  • Corktown / North Corktown - Detroit’s first neighborhood established in 1834, home to the original Tigers’ Baseball Stadium and Michigan Central Train Station, which sits about 1 mile from Downtown Detroit.
  • Mexicantown - Home to hispanic and mexican-american immigrants that have created their own town within Detroit. This neighborhood is situated between the Ambassador Bridge, international bridge between Detroit and Windsor and the construction of a new international bridge, the Gordie Howe Bridge.
  • Hubbard Richard - Situated just next to Mexicantown, home to beautiful historic Detroit homes and located on one of the old plots which used to be a ribbon farm along the Detroit River.

2021 Cohort
Soofa
Cambridge, MA

Builds the first of its kind, solar-powered digital signs with e-ink display. Soofa Signs feature real-time updates on mobility resources, city communication and wayfinding.

Kiwibot
Berkeley, CA

Builds the autonomous delivery infrastructure of tomorrow for campuses, communities and cities. With local deliveries powered by robots, Kiwibot is focused on providing an affordable, reliable, and friendly service.

Solartonic
Ypsilanti, MI

Delivers solar power and wireless networks to smart communities exactly where they need it, managed through a remote cloud-based platform - solahub™- that integrates lighting, CCTV, IoT sensors, signage, and Wi-Fi network systems for mobility management and safe streets.

Numina
Brooklyn, NY

Measures all kinds of curb-level activity to support urban planning, policy, and operations that account for everyone, not just cars. Committed to Privacy by Design, Numina delivers completely anonymous and aggregated volume counts, paths, and traffic behaviors of travelers and objects in streets.

Lazarillo
Tampa, FL

Provides a navigation app for people who are blind and visually impaired to navigate the city using audible assistance that expertly guides them through their physical environment and also connects them to services while at home.

KUHMUTE
Flint, MI

The universal charging network for anything smaller than a car, agnostic to both shared fleets and personally-owned micro-mobility vehicles.

Sway Mobility
Shaker Heights, OH

Offers carshare-as-a-service by creating tailored, turnkey electric vehicle carshare programs for communities that include vehicles, insurance, tech, charging infrastructure and operational support.

About Michigan Central

Michigan Central is a new mobility innovation district in Corktown, Detroit’s oldest neighborhood. Anchored around the iconic Michigan Central Station, it is a sustainable community of new and revitalized buildings, shared spaces, a first-of-its-kind mobility testing platform, and 1.2 million square feet of commercial space. It will serve as an open platform for partnerships, drawing leading entrepreneurs, researchers, and technologists from Detroit and around the world to co-create and test new products and services on real-world streets, in real-world situations. The ecosystem will address urban transportation challenges, improve mobility access for everyone, and develop technologies to help prepare for a more connected, autonomous and electrified world ahead.

Learn more about Michigan Central

At Newlab

STUDIO UPDATE

The Accessible Streets Studio is a collaboration between Ford’s Michigan Central and Newlab to foster an ecosystem of Detroiters, civic stakeholders, startups, researchers, investors, entrepreneurs, and industry experts committed to helping shape the future of mobility in a way that benefits everyone.

Read more