UM SMART [University of Michigan - Sustainable Mobility & Accessibility Research & Transformation]

As part of my Geriatric Fellowship during my MSW program, I was to complete two field placements in order to gain the practice experience vital for my education. Understanding that major needs aging communities face revolve around transportation and social isolation, I searched for innovative teams that would appreciate my unique background and new perspective. After connecting and sharing my story with aging and transportation researchers from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute [UMTRI], they directed me to an initiative called UM SMART.  

UM SMART is a catalyze institute to advance implementation of integrated multimodal systems and the industry and enterprise that is going to supply it. We work by breaking down silos between city stakeholders to connect technology and infrastructure to create multimodal, door-to-door, seamless mobility routes. We don’t only focus on moving people but moving goods and changing the way that people think about mobility. 

Our projects are located all over the world from Detroit and Benton Harbor, Michigan, to Cape Town, South Africa and Hong Kong, China. We facilitate public-private partnerships through engaging community leaders, policy makers, industry, urban planners, entrepreneurs and more relative to each community they support. By working on a systems level, stakeholders map areas of opportunity and identify where modes connect to form seamless links, and the new mobility grid. Through this process, they can work to reach sustainable solutions and provide more equity and access for urbanizing communities. I have more than enjoyed my time with SMART and our various partners engaging in work that will transform how people and things move in our growing world.   

Mobility as a Service [MaaS]

With a group of SMART researchers, I am currently studying global MaaS projects to identify key trends, patterns, and opportunities that are transforming the way we build and experience mobility systems. 

Mobility as a Service works to solve transportation needs by linking stakeholders to build a system of new mobility networks. It describes the connectivity of multi-modal-mezzo transportation systems that interweave to provide users with a more sustainable and efficient commute. The term “users” doesn't just describe people, but moving goods and services as well. MaaS also involves understanding how people make decisions on transportation. MaaS helps us to shift the goals of improving transport policy and infrastructure to enhance accessibility and focus on people’s needs. MaaS is a result of shifting attitudes toward using alternative modes to privately owned single occupancy vehicles which include ride-sharing, bike-sharing, on-demand and public transit, mobility hubs and more. 

Mobi Platform 

Click above to read about global mobility entreprenuers and accelerators!