Ford Brings the City: A Mobility Challenge in Memphis: How It Works

The Greater Memphis Chamber and Ford will partner to bring the auto company’s City:One mobility innovation competition to West Tennessee, providing funding to help explore community-developed ideas to address regional transportation challenges.

As a two-year challenge, Ford will provide grants and expert advice to those who come up with the best ideas to solve West Tennessee’s transportation challenges. The challenge was announced Tuesday at the chamber’s annual chairman’s luncheon.

“The mobility solutions we’re looking for here will connect urban and rural communities through sustainable electrified transportation,” said Jack Gray, co-founder and team leader at City:One for Ford Motor Company.

A hay bale with a Ford logo painted on it stands outside the Haywood County Courthouse in downtown Brownsville, Tennessee.  Thursday, February 23, 2021 in December. The town square is about 15 miles from Ford's Blue Oval project, a $5.6 billion electric vehicle factory that the automaker expects to create nearly 6,000 jobs.

This is the ninth time Ford has hosted the challenge. According to Ford’s website, the challenges “are designed to address systemic mobility inequalities while providing safe, sustainable, accessible and equitable solutions for the future.”

Essentially, it aims to connect residents in the community who see a transportation need with funding to initiate a solution. Previous winners include a mobility hub developed by a group of high school students in Detroit, a simplified pickup solution to reduce traffic around Miami schools, and wayfinding technology for those with cognitive disabilities.

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Ted Townsend and Beverly Robertson at the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce in downtown Memphis on October 10.  13th, 2022. Robertson resigned as president and chief executive of the chamber, and Townsend succeeded her.

Some programs have gone on to win additional funding from state and federal government agencies.

Chamber President and CEO Ted Townsend said one of the most frequently asked questions since announcing the $5.6 billion BlueOval City project is how Memphis can make the most of its proximity to electric vehicles and battery manufacturing. advantage of the factory.

Townsend, who took over the organization on Tuesday, said solving the traffic problem is one way. He said the Chamber and Ford want to hear every idea Memphisans have about how to solve the mobility challenges around them.

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