Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Shared mobility

Shared mobility in Greater Minnesota | Moving Greater Minnesota Forward

Moving Greater Minnesota Forward Phase 1: Early Idea Development

We invite municipalities, public transit agencies, nonprofits, small businesses, and entrepreneurs with ideas to improve mobility in Greater Minnesota to apply to participate in Phase 1 of Moving Greater Minnesota Forward.

How it works

Our Moving Greater Minnesota Forward program is designed to help you develop your idea, test it, and, if it’s successful, support further scaling. Phase 1 of the program will help you refine your idea to the point where it is ready for pursuing real-world pilot funding.

We will open applications twice a year for up to 12 projects per cohort to enroll as a Phase 1 Moving Greater Minnesota Forward cohort with our partner, ILT Studios, to develop innovative shared mobility ideas into fundable projects.

You'll begin with a 10-week program with ILT Studios to develop your idea using innovative Lean Startup principles. You'll participate in a four-hour class via Zoom with ILT once per week, and you can expect 10-15 hours of work per week outside of class for homework, prep, office hours, and coaching. At the end of the course, each project team will pitch its developed idea to a review panel.  

After you complete the initial course, you'll have six months of additional consulting office hours with ITL to further develop your idea. If your project is ready for real-world testing, we'll invite you to apply for pilot funding as part of an annual Phase 2 project call. We may also work with project teams to connect with private equity, philanthropic, and/or federal grant funding sources.

All program costs with ILT Studios are covered and a limited number of stipends are available for project teams during each cohort. A project stipend of $4,000 is available for up to six project teams in each Phase 1 cohort. Recipients of Phase 1 stipends must complete the entire 10-week Lean Startup Course with ILT Studios to receive the full stipend.

ILT Studios held a two-hour virtual workshop on Tuesday, Nov. 7 to give you a taste of what their full 10-week program entails. Attendance was open and free to anyone interested but registration was required.

Eligibility

Eligible project teams

Project teams can be made up of any combination of the following:

  • Municipalities
  • Public transit agencies
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Community organizations
  • Small businesses
  • Startups
  • Individual entrepreneurs

Project teams should be based in Minnesota based or have at least one active member or partner organization from Minnesota.

Eligible projects

Project ideas eligible for selection must involve the development of a new shared mobility service or improvement to an existing shared mobility service. Shared mobility is defined as a form of transportation in which transportation services are shared among users. Examples include the following:

  • Public transit
  • Van and carpooling
  • Rideshare
  • Carsharing
  • Bike and scooter share
  • Microtransit
  • Delivery service

View a list of selected projects.

Eligible locations

While projects don't have to initially be based in Greater Minnesota, they should have some possible applicability to one or more Greater Minnesota communities. Greater Minnesota is defined as the area of the state outside of the seven counties of the Twin Cities Metro area.

Ineligible locations include the following:

  • Anoka County
  • Carver County
  • Dakota County
  • Hennepin County
  • Ramsey County
  • Scott County
  • Washington County

Timeline

Application process

What you'll need

  • A narrative of the idea you would like to develop in Phase 1.
  • A description of the transportation problem you are trying to solve and your idea for a solution to this problem.
  • A specific Greater Minnesota community you are interested in testing your idea with and any partner organizations you are already working with.
  • A description of the work you've done so far, and any financial or in-kind resources already committed to your project.
  • Please include any documentation, sketches, or schematics to help explain your idea by attaching them to your application. Please do not share any proprietary or protected intellectual property in your application.

Application resources

When you're ready to apply

After you apply

How we select participants

We'll select up to 12 projects per application period to participate in Phase 1 programming. We'll consider and prioritize projects by the following criteria:

  • Quality of submission
  • Level of work and resources already committed
  • Geographic balance
  • Alignment with our priorities

Our priorities

We're especially interested in projects that address the following needs and will prioritize projects that offer solutions to these challenges:

  • Services that complement existing public transit by providing first mile/last mile connections to transit services or by meeting a travel need public transit is currently unable to meet
  • New services to meet the needs of historically underserved communities not currently served by public transit
  • Improved efficiencies or business models for existing shared mobility services that result in lower operational costs, increased revenue, lower greenhouse gas emissions, or improved service delivery
  • Winterization models for existing shared mobility services
  • Electrification of shared mobility services

Notification

  • We will notify applicants by email on whether they have been accepted into the Phase 1 cohort on Monday, Dec. 11.
  • Accepted project teams should confirm with MnDOT that they intend to enroll in the Phase 1 cohort within 24 hours of acceptance notice or their slot may be offered to another project team.
  • If you are not selected for this initial Phase 1 cohort, we encourage you to apply again in the future.