June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.88.1 - 15.88.10
A SERVICE LEARNING PROJECT: AN EFFICIENCY STUDY OF A METROPOLITAN BUS TRANSIT SYSTEM 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
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