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A Service Learning Case Study: An Efficiency Study Of A Metropolitan Bus Transit System

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

IE Applications and Systems

Tagged Division

Industrial Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.88.1 - 15.88.10



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Paper Authors


Cynthia Forgie University of Southern Indiana

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Cynthia C. Forgie is an Assistant Professor of Engineering at the University of Southern Indiana, located in Evansville, Indiana, USA. She received a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Louisville. She also earned a M.S. in Software Engineering from Kansas State University. Dr. Forgie has served as a lecturer at the University of Louisville and Kansas State University. She also has over ten years experience as an Operations Research Specialist for the U.S. Army Operational Test Command and five years experience as an Industrial Engineer with the U.S. Navy manufacturing base.

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Marco Lara Gracia University of Southern Indiana

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Marco A. Lara Gracia is an Assistant Professor of Industrial Engineering at the University of Southern Indiana, USA. He received his Mastes in Engineering from the Monterrey Institute of Technology (Mexico) and his PhD from Purdue University (USA). He has published in the International Journal of Production Research and the International Journal of Production Economics. His research interests are focused on supply chain security and small wind energy systems.

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MT Morris University of Southern Indiana

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Dr. M.T. Hallock Morris (Ph.D. 2004 Indiana University) is the Chair of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at the University of Southern Indiana. Dr. Hallock Morris is currently the editor of the Indiana Journal of Political Science and is a member of the Executive Council of the Indiana Political Science Association. Her research interests include environmental policy, political behavior, women and politics, and pop culture and politics. Most recently, her research on the politics of hypoxia has appears in Politics and Policy and Social Science Quarterly.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract


This paper describes a multidisciplinary, collaborative service learning project. The focus of the project was an efficiency study of a public transportation system located in a mid-sized city. A team comprised of faculty and students from the Political Science, Engineering, English, and Computer Science Departments was assembled to develop and conduct the study. The study team recommended several short term efficiencies that could be easily and quickly implemented. The study team also proposed a massive realignment of the current transportation system. The proposed new transportation network system is based on a multi-hub approach and cross docking principles.

This project was an excellent illustration of how industrial engineering draws upon a variety of different disciplines, from mathematics to psychology, from communications to political science, from sociology to computer science. It provided students from varied disciplines an opportunity to collaborate and work toward a common goal; the improvement of the municipal bus transportation system. Furthermore, because the passengers were the essential components in the transportation system, students experienced industrial engineering as a “people- focused” discipline, not simply a hard science focused on technology, methods and machinery.


Evansville is a mid size city of approximately 114,0001 people located in southern Indiana. The Metropolitan Evansville Transit System (METS) was created in 1971 to provide public transportation throughout the city. Currently, METS is based on a traditional single-hub and spoke arrangement. All routes originate at a main terminal (hub), travel a predefined route and return to the main terminal. METS operates thirteen fixed routes, from 5:45 a.m. to 12:15 a.m., Monday through Friday. METS also provides limited service on Saturday, and does not operate on Sunday or national holidays.2

Recent changes in the city’s demographics, an increase in the Hispanic population and movement of people to outlaying areas prompted the Mayor’s office to ascertain if METS was still meeting the needs of their constituents. In a period of declining tax revenue and increasing gas and operating expenses, the municipal government was feeling the strain of economic conditions.

In the early spring of 2008, the University of Southern Indiana’s (USI) Center for Applied Research was approached by the mayor’s office to complete an efficiency study of METS. A research team comprised of faculty members from the Political Science, Engineering, English and Computing and Information

Forgie, C., & Lara Gracia, M., & Morris, M. (2010, June), A Service Learning Case Study: An Efficiency Study Of A Metropolitan Bus Transit System Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--17018

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