Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

U-M honors sustainable transportation entrepreneurship with 'Mobi' Prize

U-M, with support from the Rockefeller Foundation, has launched a prize competition for entrepreneurial ventures in sustainable transportation.

Click here to apply online for the "Mobi" Prize. The submission deadline is April 1.

U-M SMART's (Sustainable Mobility & Accessibility Research & Transformation) "Mobi" Prize recognizes business startups that demonstrate innovative and replicable solutions to local and global transportation challenges. Anyone who runs or owns a legal operating venture that advances sustainable transportation anywhere in the world is eligible to apply.

Cash prizes of $5,000 will be awarded, along with a trip to Rio+20 (the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, June 20-22, in Rio de Janeiro) and top-notch mentorship sessions with global experts in sectors relevant to transportation, livable and sustainable communities, business and social enterprise.

The competition also will give special recognition to solutions that link to and improve the whole (sustainable) transport system, serve the urban poor and engage young entrepreneurs.

Solutions might range from shared auto services, mobile-phone trip planning and fare payment technology, and innovative goods movement schemes to integrated traffic management, innovative parking schemes and telecommuting or telemedicine options that allow people to move less, says Susan Zielinski, managing director of SMART.

"Action on sustainable transportation is especially important now, as accelerating urbanization, population growth, globalization and demographic shifts can end up threatening climate, the environment, biodiversity, energy security, social equity, productivity, urban economies and livability," Zielinski says. "And the effects of these trends are felt even more deeply by the world's urban poor and vulnerable.

"The good news is that a plethora of innovations is arising to address the challenge in all corners of the world — sometimes where you'd least expect them and against all odds. This prize honors the enterprising trailblazers of mobility and accessibility and builds a network of innovation that will transform transportation locally and globally."

Mentors and judges for the competition include Ashwin Mahesh of Mapunity; Robin Chase of BuzzCar; Celine D'Cruz of Slumdwellers International; Philippe Crist of the International Transport Forum at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; and Jeb Brugmann, author of "Welcome to the Urban Revolution."