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From Fantasy to Reality: Building the City of Tomorrow Together

  • Ford’s City of Tomorrow Symposium will gather opinion leaders, academics, innovators, policy makers and visionary TED fellows to share thought provoking ideas on how to create a better tomorrow
  • Ford Smart Mobility is gearing up to expand its initiatives in Asia by partnering with cities like Indore, India and Nanjing, China to explore new mobility solutions

NEW DELHI, India, September 20, 2017 – Ford Motor Company is holding the City of Tomorrow Symposium in New Delhi to explore new ways of making our cities work better in the future through innovative uses of technology and collaboration between the public and private sectors.

The City of Tomorrow reflects Ford’s long-term vision to help make people’s lives better by changing the way the world moves with world-class vehicles, mobility services and a wider range of transportation solutions. As part of this strategy, Ford recently partnered with the city of Indore, signing a memorandum of understanding to work together to address their most pressing transportation issues.

The goal of the proposed collaboration is to help the Indore public transport body manage its current and planned infrastructure through better implementation of technology and data analytics. In essence, Ford will support the development of custom city transportation solutions for improved mobility in the city.

“The transportation models that exist around the world today simply will not work tomorrow. Ford has an aspiration – that urban transport systems will be free from congestion, rich in choices, and provide mobility for all,” said Rajendra Rao, CEO, Ford Smart Mobility LLC. “Breakthrough solutions are needed to achieve this. Getting there will require a leap in our collective thinking, working with cities and partners who are agents of change.”

Moving Ideas Forward

During the City of Tomorrow, discussions will cover mobility needs and their implications for the future development of cities. Rajendra Rao, CEO, Ford Smart Mobility LLC will engage in a conversation with Amitabh Kant, CEO NITI Aayog – a government initiative focused on catalyzing development.

“Forums like the City of Tomorrow are crucial in kick-starting conversations that will help find solutions for the difficult issues our cities will face in the coming years,” said Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI.

Thought leaders participating in panel discussions will include Ford’s Global Trend Manager and Futurist Sheryl Connelly, Ford Asia Pacific Business Strategy Executive Director Jeffrey Jones, NASSCOM’s Raman Roy, leading smarter cities consultant Antoni Vives, Zoomcar CEO Greg Moran and Boston Consulting Group’s Seema Bansal among other opinion leaders.

As part of its ongoing series of global discussion around the concept of mobility, the event will feature several TED fellows, including transportation expert Wannis Kabbaj, Terreform ONA co-founder Mitch Joachim, mountaineers and explorers Nungshi Malik and Tashi Malik, and Barefoot College International CEO Meagan Fallone.

Ford Smart Mobility Solutions in Asia Pacific

Understanding that cities need solutions that help ease the critical issues they face today, Ford has already launched several new smart mobility initiatives across Asia, including:

Dynamic Shuttles: Ford’s on-demand shuttle experiments in Shanghai have built a solid foundation of designing and refining optimization algorithms to improve transportation efficiency. In a partnership with authorities in the Nanjing Jiangning Development Zone, Ford will launch an enterprise shuttle program in Nanjing, China that will offer dynamic optimized routes for employees of businesses operating in the development zone. Later this year Ford will also begin offering shuttle service pilots for employees at its Nanjing and Chennai campuses to improve commuter experiences.

Car Sharing: In India, Ford has invested in Zoomcar, India’s leading car sharing company, as part of its expansion into the mobility space. Zoomcar was recognized as one of India’s most innovative companies by Fast Company magazine for revolutionizing personal transportation to shared mobility to creatively utilize vehicles when idle.

Creative Spaces: Since innovative approaches to mobility require new ways of thinking, Ford will open a new Smart Mobility Innovation Hub in Chennai, where an open-plan office will bring together Ford’s Global-Data-Insight-Analytics and Information Technology teams to harness creativity and explore new data-driven approaches to solving mobility problems.

Traffic Management: In Vietnam, Ford will provide 50 traffic cameras for the Smart Camera System in Da Nang, which will enable authorities to collect data that will inform traffic management, heighten safety, and inform long-term planning.

Valuing Collaboration for a Greener Future

Ford’s City Solutions team is constantly finding ways to collaborate with authorities and citizens worldwide to help create cities that are greener, less congested and less polluted. Only by valuing inclusivity and collaboration can a better City of Tomorrow that works for everyone become a reality.

See the full City of Tomorrow speaker list and profiles at

About Ford in India
Established in 1995, Ford in India manufactures and exports automobiles and engines made at its integrated manufacturing facility in Chennai, Tamil Nadu and Sanand, Gujarat. Ford’s current range of award-winning products in India includes the Ford EcoSport, Ford Figo, Ford Aspire, Ford Endeavour and Ford Mustang. Ford Operations in India also include Global Business Services, with offices in Chennai, New Delhi, and Coimbatore. Registered as Ford Motor Pvt. Ltd. (FMPL) as a legal entity, Global Business Services provides innovative solutions to nearly every Ford locations around the world — in areas of Information Technology, Product Engineering, Finance and Accounting, Automotive Financing, Material, Planning & Logistics, Marketing Sales and Service, Analytics, and Purchasing. Ford currently employs more than 14,000 hard-working, dedicated men and women across its operations in India. For more information, visit

Speaker’s Profile

Raj Rao
CEO, Ford Smart Mobility LLC

Sheryl Connelly
Manager, Global Consumer Trends and Futuring, Ford Motor Company

Jeffery Jones
Executive Director, Strategy, Asia Pacific

Introducing Ford’s Mobility Solutions for 21st Century Cities

This is a critical moment in our shared history. We are facing a transportation crisis. It’s pretty clear that the transportation systems we developed in the last century are at a breaking point.

Let me give you some context.

During the next 60 seconds, motorists in cities across the country will spend more than 15,000 hours in traffic. That’s just 60 seconds, and it costs Americans about $149,000 every minute in wasted fuelnot to mention the loss of all that productive time.

In San Francisco, in the next minute, 30 percent of the traffic will result from people circling the block looking for parking. Nationally, this hunt for a parking spot will unleash 102 tons of carbon every minute.

And, unfortunately, the strain on our transportation infrastructure is only going to increase.

By 2030, the world’s population will increase by more than 1 billion people the majority of whom will live in cities. This is a problem that is both local and global in nature.

At Ford, we pay attention to this. We’re thinking about it every day. And we believe it’s time for the next chapter in mobility.

That’s why, today, we are providing a first look into our commitment to developing first-of-its-kind public-private partnerships with cities around the world to change the way the world moves.

Ford is teaming up with major global citiesbeginning with San Franciscoto help solve congestion issues and help people move more easilyboth today and in the future. We are the first automaker to work with cities to tackle these new mobility challenges and we’re bringing our 100-plus years of transportation knowledge and experience to address them.

During the next eight years, Ford will invest in a number of transportation initiatives in San Francisco, all of which are aimed at improving mobility in the Bay Area. Our goal is to drive down the cost of mobility so no one gets left behind.

The first part of this plan is the creation of a shuttle service that can supplement and expand the reach of traditional mass transit. Today, we’re announcing that we are acquiring Chariot, a crowd-sourced shuttle servicebased in San Francisco.

Chariot shuttles complement mass transit with fast, reliable and comfortable service. Mass transit systems in cities around the world are under strain.

Here in the U.S., it’s a particularly distinct problem for underserved communities, where bus routes and subway lines aren’t always convenient. Getting to work or college can be expensive and time consuming, which is a silent barrier to progress.

That’s why we’re so excited about shuttles. They don’t require big infrastructure upgrades; they can rapidly adapt based on demand and they reduce the number of cars on the road in congested urban areas.

It’s also the ideal marriage of our core automotive business and our emerging mobility business as the Ford Transit van is the perfect platform for our dynamic shuttle solution. It shows the ways we are using our traditional knowledge base to solve new transportation challenges.

We plan to grow our shuttle service to at least five additional markets in the next 18 months.

But shuttles aren’t the only transportation solution we’re pursuing. We want to offer cities a suite of solutions because we know that no two cities are alike. What makes sense in San Francisco might not fit in Shanghai.

So, in addition to our new dynamic shuttles, we’re announcing that we’re partnering with Motivate to expand bike sharing in San Francisco with the new Ford GoBike. We have plans to add an additional 7,000 bikes in the Bay Area by 2018, all of which will be accessible through our FordPass platform.

We know bikes can be a fundamental part of the transportation solution in cities. Plus, they have no emissions, you get a little exercise, and it’s a fun way to get around.

What cities need now is a partner to deliver solutions for this century. Ford is deeply committed to being that partner.

We are in the midst of a transformational moment in the history of transportation. We understand the world is changing and we’re uniquely equipped to help cities, locals and travelers alike adapt to that change.

It’s an enormous business opportunity, but it’s actually something even more important than that.

Henry Ford drove a radical change at the start of the 20th century a change that helped people all over the world follow their dreams and build better lives through the freedom of transportation.

We see this moment right here, right now in the same light.

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.

Editor’s note (6/27/17): Ford GoBike does not include technology that collects real-time data but the potential to do so in the future remains therefore the following text has been removed from this blog post in order to accurately reflect the program in its current state: “We will use traffic data collected from the bikes to build an interconnected mobility network. It will provide real-time data that helps plan your commute based on weather conditions, usage patterns and bike availability.”

We do believe that cities can derive tremendous value in insights that could come from capturing data from many forms of transportation system. We continue to work with our partners and with cities to determine the most effective means to create a truly data-driven transportation system.

Ford’s Vision for the City of Tomorrow

Just a year ago, we talked about our expansion to an auto and a mobility company. We’re doing this as the world moves from just owning vehicles to owning and sharing them.

And, this year, the expansion of our business moves into even higher gear.

As we gain revenue and customers we previously did not serve, it’s an enormous business opportunity. In fact, we expect extremely healthy 20 percent margins from this emerging part of our business going forward.

Ultimately, our vision is to help make people’s lives better by changing the way the world moves with world-class vehicles, mobility services and a wider range of transportation solutions.

We’re off to a very strong start. We’ve formed the Ford Smart Mobility LLC. We’re hiring new talent and doubling our presence in Silicon Valley. We’re investing in the mobility services industry. We’re creating the FordPass app. We’re partnering with Motivate to launch Ford GoBikes in San Francisco and acquiring San Francisco-based Chariot.

Using Ford Transit, Chariot is an app-based, crowd-sourced shuttle service that adapts to customer demand, complementing mass transit and providing transportation to underserved areas.

Since we purchased Chariot in September, we’ve already expanded to Austin with plans to grow to eight markets by the end of this year, including at least one market outside the U.S.

Now, Chariot is just one way we are developing solutions that help people move more easilywhether they own a car or not.

We’re also aggressively developing dynamic routing, digital payments, ride security, fleet services and more.

Core to our mobility work are the cities around the world facing gridlock and pollution. We know these cities need a partner to deliver mobility solutions. And Ford is deeply committed to being that partner.

The Ford City Solutions teamthe only one of its kind in the any industryis working with cities around the world to conceptualize and implement new ways of getting locals and visitors where they want to go, whether via dynamic shuttles, autonomous vehicles, ride hailing services, bike sharing or all of the above.

And, to do this, we’re working with some exceptional partners. We recently announced we’re partnering on mobility with Bloomberg Philanthropies. We’re excited to be working with Michael Bloomberg and his coalition of mayors to improve mobility in our cities around the world.

His team saw the opportunity to engage mayors around the world on the topic of mobility and, in October, he announced an initiative to engage cities in planning for this future. We at Ford are excited about being part of this public-private partnership.

These are big challenges we’re facing, but working together with passionate partners, we will unlock a future that can only be imagined today.

Even with all the progress we’re making today, it’s always important to have one foot in today and one foot in tomorrow. That’s why we’re spending time on the City of Tomorrow. We see partnering with cities as a great opportunityto serve a need and to build on our longstanding relationship providing police vehicles, ambulances and taxis.

Ford’s City of Tomorrow looks at how near-term mobility advancementsincluding autonomous and electric vehicles, ride-sharing and ride hailing and connected vehiclesinteract with urban infrastructure and create a transportation ecosystem.

In the near term, as we look out five years, we see the start of new infrastructure for cities, including wireless charging, traffic management and beginning to link vehicles to this infrastructure.

We also will see far more sharing, with bikes, ride-hailing and ride-sharing, and dynamic shuttles, like Chariot.

And, finally, we see dramatic changes in the vehicles themselves, with more connectivity, more electrification and more autonomy.

Longer term15, 20 and even 30 years outwe’re imagining a world with significant concentrations of autonomous vehicles, most of which will be electrified. Mass transit will advance for the largest cities, with new technologies like high-speed public transit.

Other innovations could include:

  • Drones that will play many roles. For example, they could be quickly deployed to survey and map the hardest-hit areas following earthquakes, tsunamis or other major disasters.
  • Advanced transportation operating systems that more robustly and seamlessly integrate data from all aspects of the ecosystem. This includes vehicles, bikes, drones and mass transit as well as street lights, parking meters and charging infrastructure.
  • Large-scale implementation of advanced technologies for flexible traffic management coupled with autonomous vehicleseliminating traffic jams, reducing emissions and bringing traffic accidents to nearly zero.
  • Converting road space into green space and parks, allowing for higher quality of life and healthier communities

And that’s why we’re investing in these emerging opportunities.

So does this signal a time in our future when driving and owning cars are things of the past? No. Cars and trucks will remain a cornerstone of society. In fact, this evolution will help cars and trucks become more effective and fun.

We’re coming together to develop the City of Tomorrow.

We are entering a new era in transportation and all of us at Ford are thrilled to help build that future.

Taking the City of Tomorrow from Fantasy to Reality — Together

Reality is starting to impose its will on cities of the world.

Populations are steadily climbing, with the United Nations reporting the global urban population is expected to grow by 2.5 billion people by 2050, with most concentrated in already jam-packed cities. Moving from one place to another is getting more difficult. Aging transportation systems are failing. Solutions are needed to maintain people’s freedom to move and these solutions cannot hinge on ideas that are still decades away, like flying cars and underground tunnels.

Ensuring cities of the future can deliver everything their residents need is a task too great for any one person or company to undertake. That is why we’re dedicated to working with cities and facilitating discussions between anyone and everyone who can help build the City of Tomorrow, from politicians to urban planners, utility companies, academics and citizens.

Our next step comes August 17, when we convene a conference in San Francisco the City of Tomorrow Symposium featuring many of these experts and enthusiasts discussing key issues facing cities from modernizing our power grids to thinking about how goods can be more efficiently delivered and solutions to bring the City of Tomorrow to life. We will have discussions that look beyond the recent, sexy headlines about specific technologies that have the potential to significantly improve our lives, but are only a part of the puzzle.

To truly understand what a city needs to do to move people more efficiently, we need to look at several aspects. Some of them include:

  • Infrastructure: City planners need to evaluate the condition of roads and bridges and make a determination whether the city’s power grid can accommodate an influx of electric vehicles, which can help reduce pollution but will demand better energy distribution methods. And that’s on top of the influx of people moving into cities, who will also consume even more energy. Increasingly, everyone from federal and local governments, to private companies and non-governmental organizations agree that preparing for the future requires more infrastructure investment.
  • Street Usage: We tend to think of public spaces as parks or green spaces, yet the largest public spaces in any city are actually the streets, many of which were built decades ago with one type of commuter in mind the owner of a personal vehicle. How we use our streets is a reflection of our values and perspectives. So reevaluating how they’re designed will go a long way to ensure they serve a variety of people and uses effectively whether they are personal or commercial vehicles, public transit users, cyclists or pedestrians.
  • Movement: How do people, goods and services move through a city? There are a number of new technologies that will affect how people move, including the deployment of autonomous vehicles. To make travel safer and more efficient, autonomous vehicles will need to communicate with all facets of an interconnected city ecosystem, but early iterations of autonomous vehicles are operating independently. Meanwhile, the sheer number of options commuters have to move is increasing think subways, buses, bike-share services and more. Right now, these solutions generally function independently, but building the City of Tomorrow requires considering how they all interface with each other. To ensure seamless trips for travelers, whether they use one form of transit or multiple, cities will need to fuse these solutions into one cohesive network.
  • Data-Powered Services: Lastly, and most importantly, is the question of how we combine what we know about a city’s geography with how people, goods and services move throughout it. For example, how might we use data to help transit operators determine the best routes to run more efficiently and to help commuters get where they need to go in a more timely manner?

People and population growth aren’t the only factors. Urban freight, or the moving of goods and services, is expected to spike as much as 40 percent by mid-century. Cities will need to deploy new delivery models to support reliable service, while also reducing congestion and pollution. By optimizing solutions based on their own geography, cities can deliver new services that meet the needs of their citizens and businesses.

Because no one organization has the answer for every mobility issue in our cities of tomorrow, arriving at our desired state requires governments, cities, community members and the private sector to collaborate on a larger scale than ever before.

Reevaluating our infrastructure, rethinking how we move and creating new mobility solutions: These are huge challenges. We need our cities to become more efficient, safer and healthier to comfortably accommodate growing populations. But this is also a chance to create something more. Cities are beacons of opportunity. They offer us a wealth of experiences on a number of different levels, from culture and entertainment to personal growth and career advancement. By coming together to build the cities of tomorrow, we also can ensure that generations to come will have the dynamic, vibrant experiences that encourage continued innovation and progress.

That’s how we need to think about mobility as a space of possibility. If we do, we can stop imagining the City of Tomorrow and come together to build it.

For more information on the City of Tomorrow Symposium, visit

Embracing disruption to create the cities of tomorrow

How Ford is pushing the envelope to provide a host of mobility solutions

Home to 60 per cent of the world’s population, Asia is growing faster than its current infrastructure can support, resulting in severe traffic jams and congestion problems. Along with other stakeholders, Ford recognises that massive changes are coming to the way people and goods move around cities and is working with local governments, companies and citizens on finding solutions to solve these challenges.

Today, 55 per cent of the world’s population is concentrated in urban areas, producing 70 per cent of global GDP. According to the United Nations, by 2020, nearly 70 per cent of the world’s population will live in cities. Nowhere in the world will this phenomenon be felt more acutely than in Asia Pacific, which is currently home to 17 megacities of more than 10 million people and is expected to grow to 22 by 2030.

However, in many parts of Asia, the problems are already starting to reach a tipping point. In the Philippines, it is estimated that traffic congestion in Metro Manila costs the country nearly $57 million per day in lost potential income. Similarly in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, if the number of vehicles on the road continues to increase at its current pace, it is predicted that traffic will effectively paralyse much of the city.

Fortunately, with the coming convergence of big data, renewable energy, the rise of a sharing economy and unprecedented levels of connectivity, these problems may soon be more manageable. Governments, companies and individuals are embracing new roles as change agents and working together to address these problems and start to build Asia’s next generation of “smart cities.”

There is more disruption happening now than at any time since horses were replaced by cars as the main form of transportation in the early part of the twentieth century. According to KPMG, 80 per cent of auto executives expect the connectivity trend will be disruptive for their business and 83 per cent anticipate major disruptions to their business models within the next five years.

Exploring new ideas

At the same time, cities are faced with the challenge of transporting people and goods more efficiently and affordably with a minimal carbon footprint. This has created opportunities for companies like Ford to explore new ideas in smart mobility while expanding their business models to embrace these disruptive technologies.

Asia is unique, both because of how fast infrastructure is developing, and the fact that many economies wanting to be at the forefront of technologies. There are many smart city initiatives and a lot of infrastructure that has already been built to make cities operate more efficiently.

The cities finding the most success in their smart city initiatives are those that have shown an openness to collaborate with private enterprises and involve their citizens in the policy development process.

Leading in this area is Singapore, which recently launched a City of Tomorrow research and development programme to find innovative solutions to urban problems and ultimately build a smarter, more sustainable city. The hope is to use the city as a proving ground for new smart transportation solutions, which can then be adopted by other cities in Asia and around the world. Another city at the forefront of the smart city movement is Seoul, which has a 2030 development plan that will involve its citizens in every step of the strategic planning process as it aims to become one of the smartest, most sustainable cities in South Korea.

Meeting mobility needs

Ford has established its City Solutions team to work directly with governments around the world, to determine their mobility needs and help develop customised/local solutions to address transportation issues. In Asia Pacific, the Ford City Solutions team sees great opportunities due to the massive and diverse region’s varying needs.

When we approach local governments, they usually begin by thinking that we just want to sell more vehicles, so we have had to change that mindset. We tell them that we are there to help their citizens meet their mobility needs and that we want to help them look at a broad range of possible mobility solutions that may work for them.

Over the past year Ford has begun launching smart mobility experiments in China. With its unique challenges and opportunities, China was chosen for one of the shuttle experiments. Looking at the local transportation patterns across Shanghai, for example, our Smart Mobility team found that a number of residential areas are located long distances away from the nearest subway station. Many residents in these areas would get off the subway and then take a taxi or some other form of transportation home because it wasn’t convenient to walk those last few kilometers.

To help address that final leg of the commute, we created and tested an on-demand shuttle solution that gets passengers to the subway station in the morning and then from the subway station back to their homes at night. The experiment provided first hand feedback and learnings about customer behavior and preferences and we are analysing how learnings from the experiment can be incorporated into new transportation solutions within Asian markets.

More recently, Ford announced a partnership with the local authorities in the Jiangning Economic and Technological Development Zone near Nanjing to offer an employee shuttle programme for participating companies operating in the Zone. This partnership positions Ford not as a vehicle supplier, but a technology provider, and is an example of how it has embraced a disruptive technology and incorporated it into its business model.

Ford looks for opportunities in which it can leverage the significant research investment that it has made in development labs around the world. It is using that insight to partner with governments and companies to offer cost-effective and efficient localised mobility solutions.

A startup might see a specific opportunity, but Ford has the reach to be able to scale some of these solutions. As we develop our toolsets and our network of different providers, we help bring forth mobility solutions to help address consumers’ needs. Ford Smart Mobility has a role to play in helping connect each city with the right solutions, whether it’s from inside Ford Smart Mobility or from outside providers as well.

The writer is Vice President of Ford Smart Mobility Global Operations

*This article was first issued in The Hindu Business Line on Aug 31, 2017