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Michigan's new Mobility office leader sees need for 'strategic road map'

State of Michigan

The head of Michigan’s office of mobility says he wants to attract more investment in mobility production and technology.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer appointed Trevor Pawl as Michigan’s Chief Mobility Officer last week.

“We believe a true strategic plan or strategic road map is necessary,” says Pawl, “Not just for the next five years, but think about the next 20 years.”

Whitmer says the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification (OFME) will work across state government, academia and private industry to enhance Michigan’s mobility ecosystem.

“Now more than ever, it is critical that Michigan strengthen opportunities for economic growth and job creation while securing our continued leadership in mobility and electrification through forward-thinking policies, innovative partnerships and smarter infrastructure,” Pawl says.

The OFME will focus on six objectives: 

  1. Increase Mobility Investment in Michigan: Generate new investment and job creation from tech companies focused on future mobility, including autonomous and electric vehicle innovation. 2
  2. Expand Michigan’s Smart Infrastructure: Further develop systems for deploying autonomous and shared transportation. 
  3. Engage More Mobility Startups: Establish Michigan as a premier location for young companies to start, scale, commercialize and grow technologies redefining the movement of people and goods.  
  4. Further Enable Michigan’s Mobility Workforce: Develop and attract the skills and talent necessary to meet the changing demands of the mobility sector. 
  5. Accelerate Electric Vehicle Adoption in Michigan: Support the transition from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles and expand access to charging infrastructure.  
  6. Bolster Michigan’s Mobility Manufacturing Core: Protect the state’s competitiveness in electric and autonomous vehicle manufacturing and ability to move technologies into industrial scale manufacturing.  

Pawl says the COVID-19 pandemic presents difficulties in expanding new mobility technology, but he says self-driving vehicles and other tech can also provide solutions to the social distancing concerns raised by the coronavirus.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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