Western Michigan University (WMU) hosted Michigan Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist, along with many other government officials earlier this week to view and ride in an automated shuttle funded under the $8 million Michigan Mobility Challenge.
For the shuttle portion of the programme, Pratt & Miller Mobility partnered with academia and industry to use technology and innovation to solve mobility gaps, which is the overarching goal of the $8 million Michigan Mobility Challenge.
“We were thrilled to be selected by the MEDC/PlanetM and MDOT to lead the automated shuttle programme,” said Christopher Andrews, Pratt & Miller Director of Mobility. “Our team embraced the challenge. We brainstormed with a panel of students with disabilities to address a variety of concerns and implemented the best solution possible. The learnings from this programme will inform the design of future vehicles to accommodate all people. There is still a lot of work to do to ensure equity, dignity, and mobility for all, and PME plans to be at the forefront of these efforts.”
Government officials, who were able to take one of the first rides in the shuttle, exited the vehicle with great reviews. “It was smooth,” said Lt. Governor Gilchrist. “We made some pretty tight turns and passed pedestrians without any issues.”
During the event the Lt. Governor was able to meet with students with disabilities attending the event. “I was so impressed with the amount of time he [Gilchrist] spent with the students,” said Andrews. “This type of interaction is why this event was so important. Our government officials must understand the issues folks with disabilities contend with—we can absolutely do better for this large portion of the population.”
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