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Project

#343 Utilizing School Bus Routes to Deliver Meals to Families in Need


Principal Investigator
Stephen Smith
Status
Completed
Start Date
April 1, 2020
End Date
June 30, 2020
Research Type
Applied
Grant Type
Research
Grant Program
FAST Act - Mobility National (2016 - 2022)
Grant Cycle
2019 Mobility21 UTC
Visibility
Public

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has unveiled the inequities that exist within our communities. During this crisis, school districts and community organizations can work together to ensure that children and families across Allegheny County do not go hungry. However, as more and more people become infected with COVID-19, and as social distancing measures increase, the ability for school districts and community organizations to staff and maintain a site to distribute school meals becomes difficult. As the pandemic continues and mobility options decrease, it also becomes increasingly difficult for children and families to travel to obtain meals. By working in partnership with school districts, community organizations and school bus providers, Allies for Children, Mobility21 & Metro21  will reimagine the school bus routes to deliver school meals to children and families within Allegheny County. 


    
Description
The COVID-19 pandemic has unveiled the inequities that exist within our communities. During this crisis, school districts and community organizations can work together to ensure that children and families across Allegheny County do not go hungry. However, as more and more people become infected with COVID-19, and as social distancing measures increase, the ability for school districts and community organizations to staff and maintain a site to distribute school meals becomes difficult. As the pandemic continues and mobility options decrease, it also becomes increasingly difficult for children and families to travel to obtain meals. By working in partnership with school districts, community organizations and school bus providers, Allies for Children and Metro21: Smart Cities Institute will reimagine the school bus routes to deliver school meals to children and families within Allegheny County. 

In this way, Allies for Children and Metro21 will work with the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Allegheny County Department of Human Services, local community organizations, food service providers, school districts, school transportation contractors, and the Allegheny Intermediate Unit to implement a meal delivery system model that utilizes school bus routing capabilities to provide meals to the members of the community.  

Current bus routes for initial communities of interest will serve as a baseline for comparison with safety in mind for the bus to stop and provide meals.  The overall benefit to this project will be to increase meal access for children and families. Additional benefits to this school bus routing delivery system include: 
?	Ability to utilize numerous different vehicles, not just yellow buses, since meals, not students, are being transported. 
?	Deploying community volunteers instead of relying on school district personnel. 
?	Designing bus routes that focus on need, not just location.

Data will be central to this work. Allies for Children will work with school districts and bus providers to provide, at a minimum, the data listed below to the Allegheny County Department of Human Services:
?	Home locations and current bus stops of children and families in the district
?	Location of food distribution centers 
?	Number of buses (or vans) available and depot locations
?	An annotated street map indicating bus-traversable streets
?	Vehicle range and speed constraints
?	Maximum number of kids safely allowed at a given bus stop
?	Maximum time that the food can be on the bus before delivery, and or the ability to obtain coolers and other materials to keep the meals at a safe temperature. 
?	Maximum number of meals that a vehicle can carry.  
  
Throughout this project, Allies for Children and Metro21 seek to improve access to school meals during the COVID-19 crisis. This work aligns well with other work at CMU including a project with Metro21 on designing school bus routes across district boundaries, a Heinz College capstone class that is developing the business plan for a county wide school bus routing system, and two CMU ConsultLab projects that are exploring ways that students utilize public transit and exploring the feasibility of a county wide school bus tracking application. 
    
Timeline
April 2020 - June 2020    
Deployment Plan
By working in partnership with school districts, community organizations and school bus providers, Allies for Children and Metro21: Smart Cities Institute will reimagine the school bus routes to deliver school meals to children and families within Allegheny County. 

In this way, Allies for Children and Metro21 will work with the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Allegheny County Department of Human Services, local community organizations, food service providers, school districts, school transportation contractors, and the Allegheny Intermediate Unit to implement a meal delivery system model that utilizes school bus routing capabilities to provide meals to the members of the community.  

Current bus routes for initial communities of interest will serve as a baseline for comparison with safety in mind for the bus to stop and provide meals.  The overall benefit to this project will be to increase meal access for children and families. Additional benefits to this school bus routing delivery system include: 
?	Ability to utilize numerous different vehicles, not just yellow buses, since meals, not students, are being transported. 
?	Deploying community volunteers instead of relying on school district personnel. 
?	Designing bus routes that focus on need, not just location.

    
Expected Accomplishments and Metrics
Throughout this project, Allies for Children and Metro21 seek to improve access to school meals during the COVID-19 crisis. This work aligns well with other work at CMU including a project with Metro21 on designing school bus routes across district boundaries, a Heinz College capstone class that is developing the business plan for a county wide school bus routing system, and two CMU ConsultLab projects that are exploring ways that students utilize public transit and exploring the feasibility of a county wide school bus tracking application.     

Individuals Involved

Email Name Affiliation Role Position
laurabar@cs.cmu.edu Barbulescu, Laura Carnegie Mellon University Other Faculty - Researcher/Post-Doc
zbr@cs.cmu.edu Rubinstein, Zachary Carnegie Mellon University Other Faculty - Tenured
sfs@cs.cmu.edu Smith, Stephen Carnegie Mellon University PI Faculty - Tenured

Budget

Amount of UTC Funds Awarded
$45000.00
Total Project Budget (from all funding sources)
$90000.00

Documents

Type Name Uploaded
Data Management Plan dmp.pdf April 22, 2020, 5:22 a.m.
Final Report Final_Report_-_343.pdf Sept. 8, 2020, 11:09 a.m.

Match Sources

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Partners

Name Type
412 Food Rescue Deployment Partner Deployment Partner