Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Shared mobility

Shared mobility in Greater Minnesota

Moving Greater Minnesota Forward

Getting a ride in the city is easy. But the further you get from a major metropolitan area, the harder it can be to get around. Many of these mobility programs and services simply aren’t available in rural areas and communities. Our new Moving Greater Minnesota Forward aims to change that.

This new program is the first innovative mobility incubator in the U.S. to focus on the dynamics and needs of rural, tribal, and small urban areas with less than 200,000 people.

We're seeking ideas for new shared mobility services or ways to improve existing services in Greater Minnesota.

These ideas can come from cities, transit systems, nonprofit organizations, startup companies, small businesses, and even the public.

Selected projects will receive technical support to further develop their idea. Partners will also be eligible to apply for funding to explore their project.

About shared mobility

As the name suggests, shared mobility transportation services are shared among the people using them. These riders may use the service at the same time (think of many people in a bus) or independently of one another. Examples include traditional public transportation, microtransit, and carpooling and vanpooling. Independently used transit includes forms of car-sharing, bike sharing and scooter-sharing.

How the program works

Moving Greater Minnesota Forward seeks to identify and support partners with ideas to improve mobility in Greater Minnesota. The program has three phases:

  • Phase 1: Early Idea Development
  • Phase 2: Real World Testing
  • Phase 3: Scaling Success

Phase 1: Early Idea Development

During Phase 1, we'll will work with organizations and individuals to develop their vision using Lean Startup methods. These partners can apply to join Lean Startup cohorts twice a year, with up to 12 projects per cohort. Other work in Phase 1 will include:

  • Determining market or community need for services
  • Customer interviews
  • Partnership development, product iteration
  • Developing a minimum viable product to test in a real-world demonstration.

Phase 2: Real World Testing

Projects that complete Phase 1 (or similar work) and develop an idea that is ready for real-world testing may apply for up to two years of pilot funding in Phase 2. Funds may cover the pilot demonstration, including needed technology, equipment, and operational costs.

We closed our first call for Phase 2 projects on April 30. Once we have selected projects for award, we will list the projects and their award amount. We expect to open another Phase 2 solicitation in winter 2025 and we expect total awards to be $500,000.

We may also work with projects to pursue further project funding. This funding can come through federal grants, philanthropic grants, and private funding sources. We expect that applicants for further funding will be:

  • Greater Minnesota municipalities
  • Counties
  • Regional planning organizations
  • Public transit agencies

They may also work with private organizations to implement the pilot project.

Phase 3: Scaling Success

We'll will work with Phase 2 projects to transition to Phase 3 as projects are ready to scale. Funding models for Phase 3 scaling may come in the form of:

  • Private equity investment
  • Competing for procurement awards through existing federal and state programs
  • Establishing public-private partnerships to leverage public, private, and philanthropic funding sources