My work with MoGo is part of a movement to shift the Motor City away from car dependency. The car has been both a blessing and a curse for Detroit; while it made the city a center of industry, it also drove divisions through neighborhoods and put those who could not afford one at a substantial disadvantage. MoGo strives to make transportation more accessible to all in Detroit, reconnecting a city that has had a long history of inequality. This mission is best reflected in “MoGo for All” program, which includes a $5 Access Pass for those who are registered for certain state benefit programs, Adaptive MoGo for those who are unable to ride a traditional bicycle, and Street Skills classes for those who are uncomfortable with riding a bike in city streets. The existence of the Neighborhood Ambassadors program brings communities together through bike share and helps ensure that MoGo is accessible by all different neighborhoods in the city. Physical mobility in Detroit is very much related to the city's economic mobility; giving Detroit residents more opportunities for accessible transportation in turn allows Detroit itself to continue moving forward.
The increased presence of bicycles in Detroit is so beneficial because it brings people closer to the city and closer to each other. I’ve felt this sentiment myself; riding a bike through the streets of Detroit makes me feel so much more in touch with the city than sitting in a car or bus. When I am biking up Cass on my commute back to the dorm or around Downtown on a weekend, I see the city in a different, more intimate way. In our first week of work, one of our supervisors Adriel took us around the city to find businesses that could potentially serve as community partners with MoGo. These businesses would offer rider perks like 15% discounts to MoGo users, incentivizing MoGo users to go to these businesses and further connecting different people and communities, all while simultaneously stimulating more economic activity in the city. Adriel emphasized the importance of community engagement and actually talking with people of the city to spread the word of MoGo. Even just being in these shops that I normally would not have gone into myself and seeing Adriel hit up a conversation with the owner immediately made me feel more immersed in the Detroit community. It really showed MoGo’s commitment to better connecting Detroit’s various communities and bringing Detroiters closer together.
In the last three weeks, Siyi and I have been creating surveys to send out to our users detailing why they use MoGo and how it has affected different parts of their daily lives, such as how much they spend and how much they drive. While this initially seemed like small work to me, I gradually began to realize its importance to both MoGo and the city as a whole. The data from the surveys helps MoGo communicate its impact on Detroit to the city government, residents of the city, and those in the metro area alike. From improving access to work, groceries, and transit to stimulating more economic activity in shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues, MoGo has no doubt made its mark on the city. Not to mention that it has also reduced carbon emissions and encouraged more physical activity. The surveys will also allow MoGo to see who is using the service and for what purpose, allowing it to continue improving its accessibility and fulfilling its mission to better connect the people and places of Detroit, especially those who have been traditionally underserved by the dominance of automobiles. It’s so great seeing how these bright red bikes are working to dissolve the decades-long barriers of division in Detroit, and I’m thrilled to be a part of the team.