Ford’s GoDrive experiment is a vision of future mobility

The world’s interconnected cities are becoming increasingly crowded, heading towards what Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford calls ‘Global gridlock’. This ‘never-ending traffic jam’, Ford warns, could compromise everything from our precious time to the flow of vital commerce and healthcare needs. As part of Ford Motor Company’s worldwide ‘Blueprint for Mobility’ vision for easing gridlock, Plan is collaborating with the company on GoDrive – a new car-sharing programme now moving into testing on the streets of London. As Plan’s research lead on the project, hear me explain GoDrive and it’s new beta-testing phase in a video launched this week. To understand the car sharing landscape in London, Plan set up a collaborative research approach involving multiple partners such as app developers and brand strategists. Our research informed and inspired high-level service strategy that Plan created, as well as early service design work. Now, the GoDrive programme is ready to hit the road, entering into iterative Beta-phase testing with a panel of users, as Plan explains in Ford’s new GoDrive video. One of the key challenges Plan has faced is creating and working together with an agile team of partners. Whether they’re working on brand strategy or app development, fleet maintenance or customer service, Plan has collaborated with the GoDrive partners both as individuals and as part of a large, complex ecosystem, catering the research to each partners’ needs as well as to those of the project as a whole. Plan’s research works the same way, looking at both the individual customer needs – convenient, affordable, simple car sharing – and the broader requirements of a huge infrastructure such as London. In its first testing stage, Plan’s live testing panel had to shepherd GoDrive through every possible issue – from honing the cars’ in-app GPS locations down to the right way to deliver membership cards to the customers. The learnings and insights generated through Plan’s work aren’t just useful to Ford in developing GoDrive – in some ways, those insights are, in and of themselves, results. Locally, Plan’s insights have helped Ford validate their expertise and build leverage in negotiations with local government and transportation institutions. And in the bigger picture, Ford’s 25 global mobility experiments (including GoDrive) are all cross-pollinating their insights with one another. Creating a new, better option for car sharing helps Ford to help all of London. But as Plan’s insights give Ford a better vision of the future of transport, one day it will help Ford to help the world.