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Ford Reveals Vision for Michigan Central Station, Reimagining Future of Mobility in Detroit

Ford Motor Company is building a new campus in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, including the refurbishment and reopening of Michigan Central Station. | Image credit: Ford Motor Company

After opening in 1913, Michigan Central Station quickly became where dreamers in search of new jobs and new opportunities first set foot in Detroit. Once the last train pulled out of the station 30 years ago, however, it became a place where hope left. The station became a symbol of Detroit’s hard times, a monument to the city’s struggles. As the new owner of the building, Ford is making a big bet on the future.

Michigan Central Station is scheduled to reopen in 2022, acting as the anchor of the new campus Ford is building in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood. The campus will be the hub for Ford and its partners’ work on autonomous and electric vehicles, and urban mobility services and solutions including smart, connected vehicles; roads, parking and public transit.

“I’ve always believed that mobility makes freedom and progress possible. It allows us to live and work wherever we want. Yet mobility is getting harder to come by. In the future, even more people are expected to live in urban areas and city transportation systems are already strained,” Bill Ford wrote in a post on the announcement.

“The urgency has never been more apparent. We’re living through a new revolution today — an information revolution that’s even faster and more disruptive than that of the industrial age. A host of new technologies is redefining what’s possible for mobility — from new strides in electric and self-driving vehicles to ways that can make it easier to orchestrate traffic,” he continued.

“This is where we believe that Michigan Central Station — and Corktown — can play a crucial role. In this thriving Detroit neighborhood, we’re creating a proving ground where Ford and our technology partners can design and test services and solutions focused on improving people’s lives. After all, the urban streets of Corktown are where we’ll find those unexpected real-world challenges we just can’t fake in a lab.”

Ford explained that all of its mobility teams will eventually be moved to the new hub and will be tasked with designing “smart cars, smart roads, smart parking and smart public transit systems, and ways for them all to talk to one another.” They will also work with startups and the community to not only help the company usher in its own new era, but restore the station to “a beacon of development, opportunity and possibility.” The station will be restored in “an environmentally friendly way” to include workspace as well as local shops and restaurants.

Concept images of what Michigan Central Station could become show how the designs will merge the historical aspects and futuristic vision for the Ford-owned building. | Image source: Brandchannel

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