Introducing the Community Mobility Design Challenge 2020

  • Author: NCMM Staff
  • Date: May 5, 2020

The National Center for Mobility Management (NCMM) has released the application for the Community Mobility Design Challenge 2020! NCMM’s Community Mobility Design Challenge 2020 grantswith funding from the Federal Transit Administration, will support communities in seeking innovative ways to address the personal wellbeing of community members that face transportation barriers to recreation and physical activities, healthy food, personal safety, economic opportunity, health care, or community and peer support opportunities. The application deadline for this opportunity is July 6, 2020.

NCMM recognizes the vital role transportation plays in all activities that support the empowerment and well-being of individuals. Yet often community transportation systems lack the resources and/or strategies to provide the level of mobility to residents that they would like to. Enter the Community Mobility Design Challenge grants. Using several activities and tools from the human-centered design approach teams will design a sustainable, customer-responsive solution for a transportation issue in their communities. Human-centered design is grounded in the exploration of a problem from multiple customers’ perspectives. You can learn more about human-centered design at Design Thinking for Mobility
The design challenge is intended to help communities develop solutions to a specific issue. Each team will choose one challenge area to focus on, and create a focus questions to clearly and succinctly outline the specific mobility obstacle your community is facing. The challenge areas identified for the 2020 Design Challenge are:
  • access to recreation and physical activity
  • access to healthy food
  • ensuring community members’ personal safety
  • access to economic opportunity
  • access to health care–related destinations
  • access to community and peer support opportunities
These challenge areas are in no way intended to limit a community’s interpretation of their issues; in fact, these challenge areas are intentionally broad to allow communities to match their project with one of their top priorities. You can see all of our past grantees and their projects on NCMM’s Community Grants page.
A crucial aspect of the human-centered design thinking process is primary research. In order to fully understand the needs of your community, applicants are required to engage with “customers” who have direct experience with the focus question. Examples of customer types could be end-users, caregivers, community-based organizations, transportation providers, and funders. This research involves conducting at least 10 one-on-one interviews/observations by your team with individuals in your community. The aim is to learn how they are affected by the mobility challenge, what their current workarounds are, how they would address the problem, among other input. With the current situation regarding COVID-19, we understand that interviews may look different than in previous grants. Virtual interviews and other novel forms of primary research will be accepted, but please reach out to NCMM if you have any questions regarding the validity of your research. 
Applicants must be a non-profit or  government agency able to receive or be a sub-recipient of federal funding. Applicants must assemble a cross-sector team, with membership drawn from organizations most relevant to the challenge area the team will address. Each team should have a minimum of five and a maximum of ten members from a diverse group of partner organizations. Teams who have previously received an NCMM Design Challenge grant are not eligible to apply for this opportunity. A complete application will be a single PDF document, combining all of the components listed in the application document. All applications must meet the initial screening criteria listed in the application to be considered. Application packages should be emailed to by the submittal deadline. Applications submitted via other methods will not be considered.

For more information regarding the Community Mobility Design Challenge 2020, please visit the 2020 Design Challenge Homepage, or reach out to Will Reckley at with any questions. 


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