"The University's ties to Detroit run deep," says Addell Austin Anderson, Director of the U-M Detroit Center and Co-Director of the MDetroit Center Connector, "but until now, there have been few options for a reliable transit system connecting us."
Anderson also says the goal is not to become a full-scale transit provider but "to better facilitate and advance learning and engagement within the City [sic]."
Funding for the project comes in the form of a five-year, $50 million internal grant campaign challenging UM faculty and staff to rethink learning.
Project Co-Director Craig Regester says many students and faculty miss out on engaging with Detroit, despite it being only 43 miles away.
"What if by 2017 - the year U-M celebrates its long, historic relationship with Detroit - there were an hourly shuttle connecting campus to midtown Detroit? This would change everything about how we teach, live and learn in this region," said Craig.
Future plans may include additional stops downtown, at Eastern Market and in southwest Detroit.