Ford Fund Smart Mobility Challenge
Studierende machen mobil - Lösungskonzepte für den Straßenverkehr
Under the motto "Together for sustainable mobility concepts", the Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering (WZL)of RWTH Aachen University, together with Ford and RWTH Innovation, offered a three-part workshop with the aim of making a sustainable contribution to improving mobility. 15 students of the RWTH pitched in teams for the first place, for which there was 10,000 Euro for the implementation of the best solution concept.
The prize, awarded by the Ford Foundation, is part of the Ford Fund Smart Mobility Challenge to improve the urban living conditions of population groups. All three teams dealt with the traffic-related challenges around a building complex in Aachen-Hörn, which houses a kindergarten, a primary school and a senior citizens' centre. Each team was given a different task: to make the access road to the residential and care centre Haus Hörn and the access to the primary school and kindergarten there safer for pedestrians and cyclists, to plan a bicycle parking area suitable for children and to develop a concept to keep the speed on Ahornstraße low.
Solutions for building complex on the Hörn - Safe footpaths for schoolchildren and senior citizens
A team from Aachen mechanical engineering and mechatronics students was able to rejoice. Their ideas to ease the traffic situation on the access road to the various facilities met with the greatest approval from the jury. With a variety of solutions, the team wants to make the area safer for pedestrians, especially for children and senior citizens who use the road every day. Among other things, the construction of thresholds and a traffic mirror are planned, as well as better and clearer marking of the parking and delivery zones and the pavement.
Dr. Ingrid Schmitt, head of the Hörn meeting centre, is pleased that this matter is now being addressed; "Improving something here would be a really good thing". For a long time she has been disturbed by the traffic situation around Haus Hörn. The access road is used by a wide variety of road users and poses many dangers, especially for children and senior citizens, as daily delivery traffic and parking in confined spaces increase the risk of accidents for pedestrians and wheelchair users.
Three-part series of events as part of the Ford Smart Mobility Challenge
The series of events took place as part of the strategic partnership between RWTH and Ford and aimed to contribute to the improved living conditions of certain groups of people with creative and innovative concepts. Students from all faculties who wanted to contribute an innovative idea in the field of Smart Mobility were invited to participate. Particular attention should be paid to population groups living in the city under difficult mobility conditions. An engineer from the WZL was on hand as a mentor to help and advise the participants throughout the entire period and will also advise the winning team on the upcoming implementation of the concept.
The event series kicked off with a Design Thinking Workshop for students who had applied for the Challenge in advance. Trainers from Ford introduced the participants to problem-solving methods and tested them together with them using real examples. Katharina Skunca, Business Relations Manager at RWTH Innovation and responsible for the Ford Key Account, opened the second session with method and presentation training, after which the participants were able to directly implement what they had learned by presenting their ideas for problem solving. At the final event, the students were able to show what they had learnt. The teams presented their solution concepts to a five-member jury consisting of employees from Ford, WZL and RWTH Innovation and had to convince them of their idea. Ford Fund Manager Deborah Chennells then presented the winners with a symbolic cheque for 10,000 euros. The Challenge ends with a day together with Ford in Cologne. The winning team then has until the summer to put their idea into practice.