Detroit seeks innovators with 'bold ideas' for curbing freight pollution in Eastern Market

What’s happening: The City of Detroit is looking to clean up Eastern Market and its Office of Mobility Innovation has issued an open call for innovators with ideas to help them do just that. The City looks to reduce fossil fuels and encourage clean freight on busy market streets; its selection in the very competitive Sustainable Cities Challenge will provide $3 million toward achieving that goal.

What’s planned: Detroit’s Office of Mobility Innovation (OMI) invites innovators the world over to pitch their ideas for reducing emissions, noise, air pollution, and operational costs for a freight industry that serves the country’s largest historic public market; the bustling market sells more than $360 million of wholesale food annually and doubles that number in exports.

Per OMI, “Innovators are tasked with crafting mobility solutions that seek not only to lower emissions and mitigate pollution but also to explore sustainable financial strategies that challenge the current economics of freight that make alternative fuel options too costly.”

How they’re doing it: Detroit was selected as one of just three international cities to take part in the 2024 Toyota Mobility Foundation’s Sustainable Cities Challenge, having been awarded $3 million to spend on innovators’ “bold solutions that remove barriers to adopting clean freight technologies, reduce fossil fuel use within the freight network and improve market vendor operations.”

Select few: More than 150 cities from 46 countries vied to enter the Challenge, with Detroit’s winning bid selected along with those from Varanasi, India, and Venice, Italy.

Why it’s important: “We’re excited and honored to be one of just three cities in the world selected for the Sustainable Cities Challenge. As the only city chosen in the western hemisphere, Detroit represents over one hundred years of world-renowned innovations in transportation,” says Tim Slusser, Chief of the City of Detroit’s Office of Mobility Innovation. “The Eastern Market district is a critical part of our region’s food distribution network. This Challenge is a great opportunity for the City to work closely with Eastern Market Partnership and the State of Michigan’s Office of Future Mobility and Electrification to pioneer new sustainable solutions in clean freight.”

How to get involved: Those innovators with ideas for improved, sustainable mobility in Eastern Market can learn more about Detroit’s Sustainable Cities Challenge online. The deadline for entries is Monday, Sept. 5.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.

Read more articles by MJ Galbraith.

MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.