This is the story of engineering students performing service learning activities for three community partners who provide transportation to the underprivileged: the Community Care-a-Vans, CCAV, the New Bedford Council on Aging, NBCA ,and the DartVan service on their University's campus. They designed and developed the framework of their client/driver/destination-point databases and installed software on computers in partners’ offices. Six GPS devices were deployed into six vans for the NBCA; two into the large 30-van CCAV fleet and one into the DartVan fleet. Personnel were taught how to perform the installation so that partners could take ownership. This technology enabled piloting of one simple mobility management tool, fleet tracking. Vehicles are tracked real-time with free downloadable software. Students customized the software and installed it on the GPS devices as well. Software also was developed and installed onto the server at the University.
Students are a demographic that, by their nature, tends to be more forward-looking, more social, and in many instances more fiscally constrained than the general populace. For this reason, students are the perfect demographic to explore tomorrow’s transportation needs today. At the same time, regional planning efforts repeatedly highlight the need for public transportation that is seamless with more frequent runs, walkable communities with green infrastructures, continuous bike paths, and businesses that make more efficient use of natural resources and reduce the impact on the environment. When you intersect these two themes, you have a university that is perfectly positioned to be an incubator for learning something new about how to move forward and be ready for tomorrow’s transportation needs.
The overall mission of Accessible Coastal Carolina Events Sports and Services (ACCESS) is to not only provide an opportunity for those who have not yet had the chance to experience the power of play and the joy of sports but to also show the importance of inclusion within a community. Creating a place where people of all ages, races, and abilities can actively participate together, will naturally allow relationships to develop as people share interest. More importantly it is opening the door to a better world for everyone. With the field and playground as a resource (and in its second season of operation), ACCESS is eager to create recreational opportunities for as many people as possible – which include future sports programs for adults in wheelchairs, nursing home residents and Wounded Warrior athletes.