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If you’re part of the nearly half of the world’s population that lives in a city, then you know what traffic congestion is all about. And as the population continues to grow, traffic congestion will become more and more of an issue.
That’s why at Ford Motor Company, we are working with major global cities to solve congestion issues and to help people get around the city more easily, both now and in the future.
“We’re expanding our business to be both an auto and a mobility company, and working with cities on current and future transportation needs is the next major step,” explained Mark Fields, Ford President and CEO.
Part of that solution includes a new agreement to acquire Chariot, a San Francisco-based crowd-sourced shuttle service. Operating since 2014, it has almost 100 Ford Transit vehicles in its fleet, shuttling along 28 routes throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. It currently crowd-sources routes based on rider demand, but in the future will use data algorithms to map efficient routes based on the mobility needs of the community, and in real time. Think of Chariot as filling a gap between taxi and bus services, and like having on-demand, point-to-point transportation.
Based on a private study for Ford conducted by KPMG, for every one dynamic shuttle placed into service during peak travel times, urban congestion could be reduced by up to 25 fewer vehicles. It’s expected that Chariot will expand the shuttle service beyond San Francisco to at least five additional markets over the next 18 months.
“Cities globally are dealing with increased congestion, a growing middle class and environmental issues – all of which can be alleviated by developing mobility solutions fine-tuned to the unique challenges of each location,” said Jim Hackett, Chairman, Ford Smart Mobility LLC, the company’s subsidiary created to design, build, grow and invest in emerging mobility services.
Beyond Chariot, Ford is collaborating with bike-sharing provider, Motivate, and the two companies 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. And next year, we will launch Ford GoBike, accessible through the FordPass® platform, with the goals of developing technologies that use data collected from the bikes to build an interconnected mobility network. Imagine this: Real-time data from bikes, such as weather conditions, usage patterns and bike availability, could be utilized to make for even smoother commutes.
And we are also establishing a new City Solutions team to work with cities all over the world on transportation needs, including working with municipalities to propose, pilot and develop mobility solutions tailored to the community.
“For more than 100 years, Ford has been part of the community and the trusted source for automotive transportation,” said Mr. Fields. “Now, we want to work with communities to offer even more transportation choices and solutions for people – for decades to come.”