Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Pittsburgh City of Tomorrow Challenge

I know that I've been MIA around here recently, and I wanted to be able to share one of the things that has been taking up so much of my time - my proposal for the Ford City of Tomorrow Challenge.
One of the things that I've talked about here (many times) is accessible ride-sharing for people with disabilities - things like Uber and Lyft. I actually had the chance to ride an accessible Uber while I was in DC, and it made me even more certain how important it was to make this available in every city. It made the night so much easier, and so much less stressful.

After my Ms. Wheelchair USA win, another CMU alum reached out to me to discuss a company that they'd started, Mobility 4 All (M4A). M4A is a Minneapolis-based company who arranges accessible ride-shares for seniors and people with disabilities. They're unique from services like Uber and Lyft, though, in that they have the option to also involve a caregiver in the ride-scheduling process. They're also thinking ahead and considering autonomous vehicles. Drivers that they hire and train right now will still be able to work when the cars no longer require drivers - they'll be trained to do the wheelchair tie-downs and other such things that will still be necessary.

I had already known about the City of Tomorrow Challenge - it's a challenge sponsored by Ford and other companies. They've partnered to put together a call for ideas that improve mobility in select cities, Pittsburgh being one of them. When M4A contacted me, I knew that this was the perfect opportunity to bring their idea to Pittsburgh for the Challenge.

You can view my submission here - I'm really excited that my team and I were able to put together such a great idea, and I'm really hopeful that it'll make it to the next round. Part of the process is community support for the process - it's not the deciding factor, but it's something that the judges take into account. I'd love for you to check out my idea, and vote for it if you live in Pittsburgh and it's something that you support! To vote, you have to create an account and then click the heart that "applauds" the idea.

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