Ford is partnering up with major global cities, starting with San Francisco in the US, on a new program to combat congestion and help take the stress out of the daily commute.
This week the company announced its acquisition of Chariot, a San Francisco-based crowd-sourced shuttle service, along with its partnership with bike-sharing service Motivate to expand transportation solutions in city centres.
Chariot was started in 2014, and operates nearly 100 Ford Transit shuttle buses along 28 routes throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, with today’s crowd-sourcing routes based on rider demand.
The company aims to operate dynamically in the future, using data algorithms to map more efficient routes to best serve the mobility needs of communities.
Ford hopes to expand Chariot beyond the borders of San Francisco to at least five more markets over the next 18 months.
Meanwhile, bicycles continue to be a major form of transport in the Bay Area of San Francisco, so Ford has buddied up with bike-sharing company Motivate.
Motivate, which claims to be the global leader in bike share organisations, will roll out Ford’s GoBike program, accessible through the FordPass app platform.
Both Ford and Motivate are working with the city’s officials to add new stations and increase the number of bikes to 7000 in the Bay Area by the end of 2018.
In the future, Ford hopes to develop new technology that will allow it to collect data from the bike fleet and build an interconnected mobility network, including real-time information on weather conditions, usage patterns and bike availability to optimise commutes.
Damion Smy, product communications manager at Ford Australia, told CarAdvice that while the company cannot confirm either program locally just yet, the Motivate service is a likely starter in Melbourne, as the bike-sharing company already operates there.