Taubman College Faculty and Students Collaborate with SMART to Develop MOBIprize for Sustainable Transportation Entrepreneurship

Taubman College Faculty and Students Collaborate with SMART to Develop MOBIprize for Sustainable Transportation Entrepreneurship

MobiPrize is an award for entrepreneurial business ventures in sustainable transportation that demonstrate innovative and replicable solutions to local and global transportation challenges. The project is an important part of a wider Rockefeller Foundation-funded SMART project, “Catalyzing the New Mobility in Cities”. This was Mobi’s first year and thanks to the great work of its movers and promoting partners, they received 84 entries from all across the globe. The two Judges Choice award winners, Zambikes and Hangzhou Omnipay Co. Ltd. along with the People’s choice award winner Caronetas Caronas Inteligentes were flown to Rio De Janeiro to accept the Mobi trophy along with a $5000 award at Rio + 20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. The success of MobiPrize has ensured its continuity for 2013, and will we awarded at the International Transport Forum in Leipzig, with additional support from Ford Motor Company and IBM.

MobiPrize has been organized with the help of a talented interdisciplinary student work team which includes Monica Musialowski (M.Arch graduate), Komal Anand (MUD graduate), and Nadine Gilmer (currently enrolled in B.A in International Studies). The student team was involved in creating the MobiPrize website, along with communications, promotion and organization of the prize. Learn more about our movers and promoting partners.

SMART approached Associate Professor of Architecture Geoffrey Thün and Taubman College FabLab Director Wes McGee, Lisa Sauvé and Adam Smith (Taubman College 2011 M.Arch graduates) to develop an artifact to accompany the prize. The design of the MobiPrize utilizes the geometric construct of a Möbius strip – to depict the seamless continuity and access to movement that is central to the ambitions of new mobility entrepreneurs. The form is milled from a solid billet of recycled 7075 aluminum, using a five-axis CNC gantry device, and is finished to preserve the legibility of the multiple successive toolpaths that produce its specific figure and texture. The project posed specific challenges for toolpath design given the combination of an object consisting of a continuous surface, and the desire to eliminate repositioning the artifact during machining so as to permit the fabrication to be undertaken in a single, continuous pass. Check out the video Making the MobiPrize.

SMART (Sustainable Mobility & Accessibility Research & Transformation), is a joint project of UMTRI (the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute) and the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. SMART undertakes and catalyzes research, demonstration projects (Living Labs), education, and global learning exchange on a range of issues related to the sustainable future of transportation in an urbanizing world. Recognizing the scale of the challenge and the sophistication of the innovation required, SMART prioritizes a complex systems-based approach to urban mobility, or more broadly, accessibility. SMART looks forward to continued collaboration and expansion of its network of people supporting and realizing innovative work in sustainable transportation. If you would like to connect with SMART please contact Susan Zielinski at