Room 2
12:45 - 13:15
Access to Mobility & Urban Space
Building Regional Connections & Economic Opportunity for Metro Detroit: The Need for New Rapid Transit Options

Short thesis

Detroit is a large metropolis but because it is disconnected, it is less dynamic and innovative than it should be. As this region contemplates being a leader in new mobility technology, how should we invest in our own mobility options? How can new ways of mapping help bridge divides and describe a future that is broadly appealing? This talk will explore some realistic transit proposals in view of the ongoing work of the Regional Transit Authority and how we can describe them visually.


Metro Detroit is disconnected and divided, and is a less vibrant and dynamic metropolis as a result. The Detroit area is larger than either Denver, Seattle, or Minneapolis, but does it feel that way? No. In those cities, regional initiatives have built out rapid transit options that support their downtowns and innovation clusters across the metro. These options help support the walkable and vibrant places that foster new entrepreneurs and connect people together. Unfortunately, Detroit’s transit options are lacking, and the city is suffering as a result.

Right now, too many people in Detroit are cut off from opportunity, unable to use their talents. At the same time, jobs are going unfilled from Livonia to Southfield to Troy. The resurgent artist and design community in downtown and Midtown is disconnected from the industrial designers and automotive engineers, who are spread through the suburbs. As the automotive industry changes and expands, there is an ever greater need to bring people with differing perspectives together to deliver novel and inventive products and services.

Given all this, can we build Detroit into a more cohesive metropolis? What does that look like? How can new maps describe what is possible in terms of transit and mobility? And how can we make it an appealing vision for the future for all? Let’s explore these topics in this talk.