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Call for Projects

Proposals Due: 9/22/2022, 5 p.m. EST

The State of Michigan is launching the Michigan Mobility Wallet Challenge to explore a mobility wallet pilot program that could increase the interoperability of transit services and create greater access to personal mobility for Michigan residents. The Challenge is a collaborative effort including the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification (OFME), Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO), and the Michigan Poverty Task Force (PTF). The goal of this program will be to simplify the transit payment process by allowing riders or third-party stakeholders to load funds and/or connect bank accounts to a single platform and create a streamlined mechanism for fare payment/collection, thereby increasing access to vital mobility services in Michigan.

Background
Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) is an approach that integrates various forms of transportation services into an integrated mobility platform that residents can access on-demand, typically via a smartphone app. An integral component of the MaaS model makes use of a mobility wallet, which refers to an electronic or card-based payment solution that can be used for public and/or private transportation services, helping facilitate easier and more seamless multimodal transportation. A mobility wallet provides residents with access to rides, passes, optimized fares, and/or credits.

Cities nationwide have started implementing MaaS platforms and mobility wallets, including Los Angeles, Portland, Boise, Pittsburgh, and Oakland. As these solutions proliferate, there will be increasing consumer expectations that every state will offer a similar solution; those that do not will fall behind quickly, which may affect quality of life, business attraction, and tourism attraction.

By creating a mobility wallet, Michigan residents would have access to a single platform and/or app to process payments for public transit services. To ensure equity and accessibility, lower income residents would have access to income-based transit passes and/or prorated fares based on income level.

Challenge
MDOT is soliciting grant proposals for pilot projects with the purpose of connecting Michigan residents, especially low-income residents, to multiple modes of transportation and enabling access to various services, jobs, and destinations that improve their quality of life, while increasing equity and accessibility. The pilot should consist of a small sample group (e.g. 50-500 residents) for a set period of time (e.g. 3 months to 1 year) within a constrained geographic area, selected based on diversity, equity, and inclusion data.

The proposed pilot projects must meet the following objectives:

  • Innovative: The pilot project should make use of existing mobility technologies and be designed to evolve over time to make use of emerging mobility technologies. The pilot project should also include innovative service models that enhance the existing transportation network.
  • Coordinated: The proposal should be developed and submitted by a team that includes a diverse range of partners. Teams should include individuals or entities with demonstrated capacity, experience and knowledge in planning, delivering and evaluating the effectiveness of passenger transportation services, working with individuals who will be served by the proposed services, and developing mobility technologies. The teams would likely include:
    • Mobility/technology companies
    • Public transportation agencies in or near the service area
    • Transportation planning agencies in the service region
    • Social service agencies that provide services to seniors, persons with disabilities, veterans, or low-income residents
    • Advocacy groups that have knowledge of the needs of seniors, persons with disabilities, veterans, or low-income residents
  • Equitable & Accessible: Applicants must consider equity and accessibility in the design of their pilot project, and invest in associated community education, engagement, and outreach to better understand stakeholder needs. Applicants should consider users who are unbanked and may not have access to a mobile phone.
  • Ease of Use: The pilot project(s) must be easy for users and transit providers, across multiple modes of transportation. Users must be able to load their own money (cash or access via a bank account, credit card, etc.) and other individuals/entities must be able to load funds into users’ wallets as well.

Grants will be awarded to subsidize a portion of the cost to plan, deliver, and monitor several pilot projects throughout the state for a three- to six-month demonstration period. Awarded funding may be used to help pre-populate individual wallets with funds and facilitate program marketing. The remaining cost should be covered from fares and other funding sources. The amount of the subsidy will be determined in a negotiated process between MDOT and each selected recipient with consideration given to the cost of public and private transportation that is comparable in nature (geographic region, type of service, etc.), and the pilot project parameters (estimated ridership/participation, distance of trips, length of demonstration period).

Project Selection/Scoring
Proposals will be evaluated and scored by MDOT and the OFME based on the following criteria: 

  • Understanding of mobility gap(s) noted above and how they will be addressed by the proposed project (40 points)
    • Process for identifying and recruiting potential funding partners for the wallet
    • Methods for identifying, recruiting and supporting wallet beneficiaries
    • Coordination plan for all partners
    • Utilization/consideration of the existing transportation network
  • Sustainability of the service after the demonstration period (20 points)
    • Letters of commitment/roles and responsibilities from each partner including financial commitment with identification of funding sources
  • Service evaluation plan/metrics (15 points)
  • Capacity and experience of the team (15 points)
  • Overall quality of the proposal (10 points)

Proposals that score within a competitive range will move on to the second level of evaluation and will be considered for funding. The final selection of projects will be based on the following elements:

  • The desire to select proposals that will test and demonstrate a variety of mobility options including a diverse set of geographic areas within the state, a diverse set of targeted populations – especially those that take advantage of, or enhance the future adoption of, emerging technologies.
  • Cost of the proposal. There is a strong desire to fund projects of varying sizes and scopes that have a high probability of being financially sustainable after the grant-funded demonstration period is over.

Proposal Instructions
Proposals must include the following information:

  • Applicant Information:
    • Name and contact information for project lead
    • Information for each project partner including the software provider, financial service provider (payment processing), transportation providers, identified contributors of wallet funds (e.g., employers, medical facilities, human service agencies). Include agency/company name, their capacity/experience and their role in the project.
    • Letter of commitment from each partner identified above ensuring understanding of their role and contributions to the project.
  • Description of Proposed Service: Describe the service that will be provided to fill mobility gap(s), including the following elements:
    • Details of the tool that will be implemented
    • Method to recruit, manage and support beneficiaries of the mobility wallet (e.g., riders) and contributors to the mobility wallet (e.g., employers, medical facilities, human service agencies)
    • Approach for coordination of services, collection of funds, payment of funds and all related reporting
  • Approach to Equity and Accessibility: Describe how the proposed project will address equity and accessibility.
  • Implementation Plan: Describe the process and timeframe for planning and implementing the project, including the recommended demonstration period.
  • Sustainability Plan: Financial plan for sustaining the service beyond the demonstration period. Include letters of commitment if available.
  • Evaluation plan: Criteria (metrics) that will be used to determine if the service is effective and successful, including the data needed and methods for collection.
  • Project Budget: Separate budgets should be included for each element: planning/start-up, software/hardware costs, service delivery, evaluation. Please indicate which elements of your project are scalable.

Questions? E-mail MobilityWalletChallenge@Michigan.gov until September 15, 2022, for clarification on the application requirements. Answers will be posted on the Mobility Wallet Challenge website.

Proposals must be submitted electronically to the Application Portal by September 22, 2022, 5 p.m. EDT to be considered.