Ford is teaming up with major global cities - starting with San Francisco - to solve congestion issues and help people move more easily, today and in the future.
The company recently announced an agreement to acquire Chariot, a San Francisco-based crowd-sourced shuttle service, and collaborating with bike-sharing provider Motivate to expand its transportation solutions in city centers. Ford also is establishing a new City Solutions team to work with cities around the world on their transportation needs.
"We're expanding our business to be both an auto and a mobility company, and partnering with cities on current and future transportation needs is the next major step," said Mark Fields, Ford president and CEO. "For more than 100 years, Ford has been part of the community and the trusted source for automotive transportation. Now, we want to work with communities to offer even more transportation choices and solutions for people - for decades to come."
Today, half the world's population lives in cities. By 2030, that number is expected to grow to 60 percent. As city populations grow, the challenges tied to moving people and goods around become tougher. Ford is committed to being part of the solution. Ford's acquisition of Chariot will serve as the cornerstone for its new global shuttle services business.
"Cities globally are dealing with increased congestion, a growing middle class and environmental issues - all of which can be alleviated by developing mobility solutions fine-tuned to the unique challenges of each location," said Jim Hackett, chairman, Ford Smart Mobility LLC, the company's subsidiary created to design, build, grow and invest in emerging mobility services.
"Chariot's mission from day one has been to solve the commute by providing a mass transit solution that is fast, reliable and affordable for people living in today's cities," said Ali Vahabzadeh, Chariot cofounder and CEO. "We started our Chariot service with Ford's 15-passenger vehicles and continue to use Ford Transit shuttles to this day. We couldn't be more thrilled to be Ford Smart Mobility's first acquisition and leverage its leadership in transportation to fulfill Chariot's goals worldwide."
"A transportation revolution is coming to the Bay Area," said Jay Walder, CEO of Motivate. "This unique partnership with Ford shows that bike share is no longer alternative transportation; it is central to creating smart, on-demand mobility that represents our values for equity and sustainability."
Ford plans to develop technologies to use data collected from the bikes to build an interconnected mobility network. This could include real-time data, such as weather conditions, usage patterns and bike availability, to optimize commutes.
The team will address the reality that each city's transportation ecosystem has evolved over time and poses a unique set of transportation challenges. Through a joint discovery process, Ford City Solutions will work with municipalities to propose, pilot and develop mobility solutions tailored to the community. Discussions are already under way with several global cities.