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Week of September 23, 2013

U-M shuttle service to connect Ann Arbor, Detroit

The U-M Detroit Center and Semester in Detroit Program Oct. 5 will launch a free Friday and Saturday shuttle service between Detroit and Ann Arbor, with the help of pilot funding by the Transforming Learning for the Third Century Fund.

“The university’s ties to Detroit run deep, but until now, there have been few options for a reliable transit system connecting us,” says Addell Austin Anderson, director of the Detroit Center and co-director of the MDetroit Center Connector.

The new shuttle service will be available to transport U-M students, staff and faculty from the Ann Arbor campus to the Detroit Center. In addition to the main stop, the project planning team is exploring the possibility of adding stops in areas such as downtown, the Cultural Center, Eastern Market and Southwest Detroit.

The initial schedule was chosen based on feedback gathered in late April through a formal online survey completed by more than 300 students, faculty and staff. The full report on the survey now is available to the public at detroitcenter.umich.edu/dc-connector.

“Our aim is not to become a full-scale transit provider, but to better facilitate and advance learning and engagement with the city, as well as to deepen relationships between Detroit and the U-M community,” says Anderson.

“Moreover, as this project grows, we’re also very interested in enabling Detroiters — young and old — to more easily access Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan communities. We believe this is a true win-win situation for everyone.”

The MDetroit Center Connector received funding in the first round of the Transforming Learning for the Third Century Fund — a five-year, $50 million internal grant campaign challenging U-M faculty and staff to rethink teaching and learning, as the university grows closer to its bicentennial in 2017.

“Detroit is a major American city located only 43 miles from Ann Arbor; yet, many students and faculty miss out on meaningful and accessible engagement with the city.” says Craig Regester, co-director of the MDetroit Center Connector and associate director of the Semester in Detroit Program.

“What if by 2017 — the year U-M celebrates its long, historic relationship with Detroit — there was an hourly shuttle connecting campus to midtown Detroit? This would change everything about how we teach, live and learn in this region.”

Centrally located on the corner of Woodward Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard since September 2005, the Detroit Center is home to university programs engaged throughout the city in community-based research, public health outreach, service projects, internships, technical assistance and creative collaborations.

For more detailed information about this initiative, including the launch calendar and preliminary schedule, go to detroitcenter.umich.edu/dc-connector.

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