National Competition Inspires Students to Solve Social Inclusion Issues with Design Thinking

PLANO, Texas [April 24, 2017] — When many people think about students focused on “going places,” they may think of exciting jobs, prestigious fellowships or adventurous travel. But the nearly 600 students who took part in the second Next Generation Mobility Challenge had a different idea. 
The Challenge, a national competition from Toyota and Net Impact, inspires millennials to use design thinking to solve mobility issues, such as improving transportation systems for low-income workers and helping people with disabilities get around more easily.
Today, Net Impact and Toyota announced the finalists, who were selected based on project design, feasibility and social impact by a panel of judges from the two organizations.  Vote for your favorite by watching videos of their solutions through April 26 at this link.
“At Toyota, mobility is about more than going places. It means having access to opportunities,” said Ryan Klem, director of programs and partnerships, Toyota Mobility Foundation. “We were so impressed with all the students this year, but in particular, we thought the finalists were terrific. They thought outside the box to come up with mobility solutions that have the potential to improve lives.”
“Net Impact’s goal is to inspire youth to use their education and resources to address both business and social opportunities,” said Liz Maw, CEO, Net Impact. “Our partnership with Toyota on the Next Generation Mobility Challenge gives students the opportunity to see firsthand that their ideas are important and can, and will, change the world.”
The winning team will be announced in early summer. They will be offered summer internships at Toyota, funded by the Toyota Mobility Foundation, which was established to address mobility challenges around the world. Additionally, the winners may be considered for funding to bring their solution to life from the Toyota Mobility Foundation.

2017 Next Generation Mobility Challenge Finalists

In April of this year, Net Impact and Toyota convened the three finalist teams for a “boot camp” by Toyota’s North American headquarters in Plano, Texas, where innovation experts helped them fine-tune their pitches and prepare for the final judging. The finalists’ pitch concepts and student team members are:

  • “The Hub”: A carpooling concept based in school communities that would be more efficient than public transit and allow commuting parents to spend more time with their families.
    • Sam Anderson, BFA in Interaction Design, California College of the Arts
    • Nisha Pathak, Masters in Information Management and Systems, UC Berkeley
    • Daniel Quon, MBA in Design Strategy, California College of the Arts


  • “Project Mobius”: A company-sponsored employee transportation system for low-income individuals to help them acquire and retain jobs while boosting employee loyalty and reducing environmental impact.
    • Andrew Gelfman, Computer Science/Engineering undergraduate, University of Colorado
    • Carrie Cardona, Architecture undergraduate, University of Colorado
    • Wenjin Li, Mechanical Engineering undergraduate, University of Colorado


  • “Para Pickup”: A service that gives people with disabilities safe, affordable and flexible ways to get home, improving on current options which can be inflexible and slow.
    • Sally Xia, Masters in Digital Media, Georgia Tech
    • Riley Keen, Masters in Industrial Design, Georgia Tech
    • Pranav Nair, Masters in Industrial and Product Design, Georgia Tech
    • Kris Weng, BS in Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Tech

Toyota (NYSE:TM), creator of the Prius and the Mirai fuel cell vehicle, is committed to advancing mobility through our Toyota and Lexus brands.  Over the past 60 years, we’ve produced more than 30 million cars and trucks in North America, where we operate 14 manufacturing plants (10 in the U.S.) and directly employ more than 44,000 people (more than 34,000 in the U.S.).  Our 1,800 North American dealerships (nearly 1,500 in the U.S.) sold almost 2.6 million cars and trucks (2.45 million in the U.S.) in 2016 – and about 85 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 15 years are still on the road today. 

Toyota partners with community, civic, academic, and governmental organizations to address our society’s most pressing mobility challenges. We share company resources and extensive know-how to support non-profits to help expand their ability to assist more people move more places. For more information about Toyota, visit

About the Next Generation Mobility Challenge
Launched in 2015, the Next Generation Mobility Challenge is a competition from Toyota, the Toyota Mobility Foundation and Net Impact to inspire millennials to develop solutions for critical mobility needs in local communities and around the world. Held at fifteen university campuses across the country, the challenge invites multi-disciplinary teams of students to participate in design sprints to develop solutions for mobility issues related to social equity and inclusion. Local transportation and technology experts from Toyota and universities provided feedback and real-world perspective to the students’ concepts.
Toyota is executing the challenge through Toyota Motor North America and the Toyota Mobility Foundation (TMF), which was created by Toyota in 2014 to help more people go more places – safely, easily and sustainably – so they can live better lives no matter where they are.

About Toyota Mobility Foundation

The Toyota Mobility Foundation was established in August 2014 to support the development of a more mobile society. The Foundation aims to support strong mobility systems while eliminating disparities in mobility. It utilizes Toyota's expertise in technology, safety, and the environment, working in partnership with universities, governments, non-profit organizations, research institutions and other organizations to address mobility issues around the world. Programs include resolving urban transportation problems, expanding the utilization of personal mobility, and developing solutions for next generation mobility.
About Net Impact
Net Impact is a global community of students and professionals who aspire to be effective drivers of social and environmental change. Our programs—delivered from our headquarters in Oakland, CA, as well as globally through our 275+ chapters—connect our members to the skills, experiences and people that will allow them to have the greatest impact. With over 100,000 members, Net Impact takes on social challenges, protects the environment, invents new products and orients business toward the greater good. In short, we help our members turn their passions into a lifetime of world-changing action. Visit


For Toyota
Amy Schultz
[email protected]
For Net Impact
Jessica Asperger
[email protected]


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Finalists of Toyota and Net Impact’s Next Generation Mobility Challenge tackle social equity and inclusion issues related to mobility.

2017 Next Generation Mobility Challenge Finalists 01

Finalists of Toyota and Net Impact’s Next Generation Mobility Challenge tackle social equity and inclusion issues related to mobility.

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