Cars, Traffic and Urbanization: What Ford is Doing

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I was recently invited to return this year to another Ford Media conference, Go Further with Ford. As with last year’s Go Forward with Ford, I learned a great deal about the future of cars and how Ford is responding to changing needs. This year my favorite session was on Urbanization: traffic, safety and owning a car versus renting.

The speakers during the Urbanization session were Carol Coletta, named one of the world’s 50 most important urban expers, and Gretchen Effgen, Zipcar’s Director of Business. Coletta began with some interesting facts about cities in general:

  • Cities offer more opportunities, variety, convenience and time saving discovery. 
  • Cities are successful if they have quality of talent (college grads) and place.
  • However, many millennials chose the city they want to be in and then look for a job there.
  • People will pay more for homes with a higher walk score.
  • Urban areas are mature markets. However more millennials are living in cities than baby boomers.
As to cars and driving, Coletta had these things to say:
  • Fewer millennials are buying cars. The reasons are: They have less money, they are moving to cities and they are used to access over ownership (ex. streaming movies from Netflix, using Zipcars).
  • Experiences provide more happiness than buying objects. Cars need to be something that you interact with, not just own.
What is Ford doing?:
  • The Ford Fiesta – a tiny car loaded with great technology for city driving.
  • New technology for city driving – radar and camera tech to help avoid traffic and Traffic Jam Assist with speed regulation. 
  • Working on new features: Drivers will be able to parallel park hands-free and conversation between vehicles will have the potential to minimize crash scenarios.
  • Zipcar – Ford has teamed up with Zipcar, the world’s largest car-sharing service to provide Ford cars.
Zipcar:
  • Cheaper than owning a car if you live in an urban area. (Gas is even included!)
  • Many on college campuses. 
  • Perfect when you only need a car for the day or a few hours. 
  • Community impact – less need for parking spots, self serve, collaborative consumption.
  • 60% of reservations made using mobile devices.


The other sessions given at the Go Further with Ford conference were:
Adrian Grenier on Ford panel on Eco-Psychology
  • Accessible Design – products must resonate with people emotionally. Christian Siriano, winner of Project Runway, was one of the speakers.
  • Streamline and simplify – connective technologies allow drivers to use voice commands to do a variety of things so that they never need to take their eyes off the road.
  • Eco-Psychology – by making changes now to its vehicles, Ford is creating positive change with an eye towards the future. Adrian Grenier (Entourage) is a co-founder of SHFT.com, a sustainability lifestyle platform and was one of the speakers on this panel.
Thanks you Ford for another fascinating look into the important projects occurring in the car industry.
Full disclosure: I was given free transportation, lodging and food for this 2 day trip
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