Ford Motors (NYSE: F) announced on Thursday a new alliance between a U.S. transit system, an urban technology company and the automaker, which seeks to provide a new innovative transportation method for Kansas commuters. The objective is to impulse mass transit with a new practical transportation option in Kansas City.

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority and Bridj, the urban technology company, will be in charge of launching the program called Ride KC: Bridj, which is designed to transport people to productive areas of Kansas City, with the utilization of locally-built Ford Transit vans and a handy smartphone app.

Photo: Engadget
Photo: Engadget

“Our goal is to make people’s lives better by changing the way the world moves. The Ford Smart Mobility plan supports our commitment to innovation” said Erica Klampfl, global mobility solutions manager, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering, in a press release on Thursday.

The new mobility program is presented as a micro-transit option by Robbie Makinen, Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) president and CEO. He explained that with the combination of intelligence provided by Bridj and the flexibility offered by Ford Transit vehicles, the residents will be benefited with a “seamless and borderless” transportation method, which can be convenient and affordable.

Ride KC: Bridj is expected to be launched in March. Bridj will analyze information provided by billions of data points in order to determine which are the places that need to be accessed by people, who will have the option to download the Bridj mobile app to request an on-demand shuttle service, said Ford.

Matt George, CEO of Bridj said on Thursday that modernizing urban infrastructure will be the greatest technology challenge of modern times. That being said, the new transportation pilot aims to extend the current transportation options for Kansas citizens.

On the other hand, Ford declared that the company was thrilled to be part of the new project since it will help the automaker to gain insights into what works. Also, the producer headquartered in Michigan wants to create more mobility solutions and service-oriented products.

The high-roof, long-wheelbase Transit vans will be constructed at a Kansas City Assembly Plant and they will be equipped with 3.5 liter V6 EcoBoost engines, 14 passenger seats, and bright logos on the sides that will make them more recognizable.

Ford Transit is the most sold commercial van in the United States. The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority purchased the vans from Ford through Ford Motor Credit Company’s municipal finance program. KCATA officials said that Kansas City supports buses, bikes, streetcars, and rapid transit vehicles, in order to create an efficient transportation system.

The Ride KC: Bridj program will be launched in downtown Kansas City, the near east and west sides, Hospital Hill, Crown center, some parts of Midtown, University of Kansas Medical Center and the Historic 18th and Vine Jazz district, wrote Ford in a statement.

Bridj CEO said that 18 percent of jobs in Kansas City are accessible within 90 minutes when people use public transportation. “By improving access to jobs, Ride KC: Bridj is a catalyst for social and economic opportunity, and an example of what is possible when cities adopt technological innovation” He added.

Source: Ford News Room