Ford is also establishing a new City Solutions team to work with cities around the world on their transportation needs
Ford Smart Mobility is to acquire Chariot, a San Francisco-based crowdsourced shuttle service which will act as the cornerstone for its new global shuttle services business.
At the same time the company announced it is partnering with bike-sharing provider, Motivate, to expand its transportation solutions in city centres.
According to Ford, the Chariot shuttles, started in 2014, complement mass transit by filling the gap between taxi and bus services, providing an on-demand, point-to-point transportation option that is convenient, efficient and cost-effective.
It currently operates nearly 100 shuttles along 28 routes throughout San Francisco’s Bay Area and the service is expected to be expanded to at least five additional markets in the next 18 months.
Chariot’s routes are crowdsourced, based on rider demand. In the future, they will operate dynamically using data algorithms to map efficient routes to best serve the real-time mobility needs of communities, Ford said.
Ford is also 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, president and CEO, Ford.
“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.”
For every one dynamic shuttle that is placed into service during peak travel times, urban congestion could be reduced by up to 25 fewer vehicles, according to a private study for Ford conducted by KPMG.
“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, the company’s subsidiary created to design, build, grow and invest in emerging mobility services.
“At the same time, by expanding our business model to include new forms of transportation – from bikes to dynamic shuttles and more – we are introducing new customers to Ford and creating new revenue and profit opportunities for the future.”