Ford Motor Company and the City of Pittsburgh are collaborating together and working closely with public stakeholders and private partners including Dell Technologies, Microsoft, and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership to launch the “Pittsburgh City of Tomorrow Challenge,” a crowdsourcing platform for residents, businesses, and community groups to propose and pilot solutions that improve mobility in Pittsburgh.
The City of Tomorrow is Ford’s vision for the future, which the company says is designed to help companies develop and implement solutions that address transportation challenges, such as crossing bridges, to enable people to get to work or spend more time connecting with friends and family.
Throughout the eight-month program, residents, businesses, and community organizations are invited to share how they experience transportation in Pittsburgh and how mobility either enables them or serves as a barrier to accessing the important aspects of their daily lives. Pittsburgh officials are also seeking ideas to better their city in a number of ways, including improving access to travel information, building confidence in existing systems, and soliciting ideas for improvements that can supplement existing services. To encourage people to take part and to test out the best ideas, the challenge includes $100,000 to fund pilots that test the top ideas.
"Pittsburgh is at the precipice of change and we need to make sure the bright future we see is one where everyone can thrive,” said Karina Ricks, Pittsburgh Director of Mobility and Infrastructure. “The City of Tomorrow Challenge will put deep analytical power and industry insight in service of the people of Pittsburgh, bringing forward innovative real-world solutions to today's mobility challenges that help us achieve an inclusive tomorrow."
By working with Pittsburgh communities to crowdsource new mobility designs and innovations, and funding pilots to test the top solutions, the challenge program’s goal is to identify meaningful opportunities to create immediate impact for Pittsburgh residents and support long-term improvements to how people get around the city.
“No two cities are the same—that’s why we’re committed to really understanding their specific issues and their needs,” said John Kwant, Vice President, Ford City Solutions. “With the City of Tomorrow Challenge, our goal is to provide a program and access to technology that makes it easy for cities to engage residents, businesses, and other groups in a way that can lead to real solutions.”
People can go to the challenge website to share their experiences, sign up for community working sessions, and offer insight into the variety of ways people move around Pittsburgh today. Additionally, city staff will be out at a number of local neighborhood festivities and events to engage residents directly. On July 2, the application period will open and participants can submit ideas for accessible solutions.
In September, semi-finalists will be selected from among all submissions to attend a prototyping session and receive mentoring support to refine their ideas before submitting a final pilot proposal. During the challenge’s concluding stage, $100,000 will be awarded to fund pilots to test the proposed strategy in partnership with the City of Pittsburgh, Ford, and the challenge’s corporate partners.
“We’re encouraging everyone to participate—from residents, community groups, and local businesses to universities and innovation centers across the U.S. and around the world—knowing the key to finding solutions and making a difference is widespread collaboration,” said Kwant.