Today, half the world’s population lives in cities. By 2030, that number is expected to grow to 60 percent. As city populations grow, the challenges tied to moving people and goods around become tougher. Ford is committed to being part of the solution.
Ford is teaming up with major global cities to solve congestion issues and help people move more easily, today and in the future. Ford will begin the initiative starting with San Francisco. The company announced an agreement to acquire Chariot, a San Francisco-based crowd-sourced shuttle service, and collaborating with bike-sharing provider, Motivate, to expand its transportation solutions in city centers. Ford also is establishing a new City Solutions team to work with cities around the world on their transportation needs.
Ford’s acquisition of Chariot, subject to normal customary closing conditions, is expected to serve as the cornerstone for its new global shuttle services business. The shuttle service is expected to be expanded beyond San Francisco to at least five additional markets in the next 18 months. Started in 2014, Chariot operates nearly 100 Ford Transit shuttles along 28 routes throughout San Francisco Bay Area. Today, Chariot’s routes are crowd-sourced based on rider demand. In the future, they will operate dynamically – using data algorithms to map efficient routes to best serve the real-time mobility needs of communities.
The Chariot shuttles complement mass transit by filling the gap between taxi and bus services – providing an on-demand, point-to-point transportation option that is convenient, efficient and cost-effective. For every one dynamic shuttle that is placed into service during peak travel times, urban congestion could be reduced by up to 25 fewer vehicles, according to a private study for Ford conducted by KPMG.
Bikes are another important mode of transportation for commuters in the Bay Area. Ford and Motivate, the global leader in bike share, are working with city officials to add new stations and increase the number of bikes to 7,000 in the Bay Area by the end of 2018. When it launches next year, Ford GoBike will be accessed by users through the FordPass® platform.
Ford plans to develop technologies to use data collected from the bikes to build an interconnected mobility network. This could include real-time data, such as weather conditions, usage patterns and bike availability, to optimize commutes.
Ford also is establishing its new City Solutions team to work with cities on expanding mobility services worldwide as part of Ford Smart Mobility LLC. John Kwant – who has worked with several global cities during his Ford career as part of the company’s government affairs and global strategy teams – has been tapped to lead the effort as vice president, Ford City Solutions.
The team will address the reality that each city’s transportation ecosystem has evolved over time and poses a unique set of transportation challenges. Through a joint discovery process, Ford City Solutions will work with municipalities to propose, pilot and develop mobility solutions tailored to the community. Discussions are already under way with several global cities.