In addition to our funded work, the Supply Chain Transportation & Logistics Center engages pro bono with local public and nonprofit organizations to create solutions for supply chain transportation and logistics problems.
These pro bono projects enable us to contribute to local organizations and help them deliver on their missions. At the same time, they integrate research and teaching and provide our students with opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills in real-world settings,
If you are interested in partnering with us, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Completed Community Projects
Project: Analysis of a Food Bank Home Delivery Program
Partner: University District Food Bank (UDFB), Cascade Bicycle Club, Pedaling Relief Project
Background: Hunger relief organizations such as northeast Seattle's University District Food Bank (UDFB) play a key role in redistributing groceries and supplies to neighbors experiencing food insecurity. To expand access and service clients who are homebound or otherwise unable to shop in-store due to age, illness, or disability, the UDFB provides a home delivery service, originally staffed by volunteers using their own vehicles and designing their routes.
Summary: In response to an increased need for food assistance during the pandemic, UDFB expanded its home delivery service, and, in partnership with the Cascade Bicycle Club's Pedaling Relief Project, shifted some of its delivery away from private vehicles toward bike transport. Anne Goodchild and Giacomo Dalla Chiara's Civil & Environmental Engineering CET 587 course: Transportation and Logistics class undertook a case study to analyze PRP's transport and logistics system and provide recommendations for operational improvements.
Students worked to streamline the process of designing delivery routes to minimize the total distance traveled — which normally takes volunteers hours to do, manually without automation tools. For his project, doctoral student Dan McCabe developed an app that automates the route design process. The app groups deliveries together based on a variety of criteria, such as carrying capacity, time of day, and correlation with bike lanes, and, using the Open Source Routing Machine project, designs optimal routes, and then provides users with QR codes to direct riders to the routes on Google Maps. The app was first tested during a citywide volunteer One Seattle Day of Service in May.
Since its founding in May 2020, the program has delivered more than 169 tons of food, rescued more than 113,122 pounds of food from local grocery stores, biked more than 15,752 miles, and reduced carbon emissions by more than 8.6 tons.
Timing: March - June 2022
More: Biking for Goods: A Case Study on the Seattle Pedaling Relief Project
Project: Route Optimization
Partner: University of Washington Department of Laboratory Medicine
Background: The University of Washington Department of Laboratory Medicine has the largest test menu of any laboratory in the Pacific Northwest, and is an internationally recognized leader in test development, quality, and interpretation. A clinical laboratory is a laboratory where clinical tests are carried out on clinical specimens to obtain information about the health of a patient to aid in diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. The department offers a variety of testing services in all the major laboratory disciplines that vary in complexity and requirements such as turnaround of results.
Summary: The SCTL Center partnered with the Department of Laboratory Medicine to improve the department's in-house transportation services through route optimization. To help inform supply chain decisions, SCTL research assistant Chelsea Greene and students in Prof. Anne Goodchild's graduate Civil and Environmental Engineering course identified strategies to improve in-house transportation services, and metrics to evaluate these strategies against the current routes. Results from the analysis allowed the SCTL Center to advise the University of Washington Department of Laboratory Medicine on how to:
- Improve services by minimizing the expected lead time (from the time the specimens are ready for pick up to the time they are delivered to the lab for testing)
- Reduce cost through minimize the extent to which couriers work outside of their maximum shift durations and vehicle miles traveled
Timing: April - June 2019
More about the project: The Route Machine: An Optimization Framework
Project: Pike Place Market Design and Operational (MDO) Expansion Plan
Partner: Pike Place Market
Background: Students in Anne Goodchild's Civil & Environmental Engineering course CET 511: Planning for People and Freight studied transportation planning as a process integrating and balancing the needs of diverse users, including automobile drivers, freight carriers, public and private mobility service providers, cyclists, and pedestrians.
Summary: As a final project, they strategized on the creation of a new Market Design and Operational (MDO) plan for Pike Place Market, which would outline a set of market, street, and sidewalk designs, and market business operational models that would be adopted by the Market as a unified 20-year development plan. The plan was to address economic, sustainability, accessibility, and safety goals; be innovative and flexible enough to adapt to the expected changes in transportation (both passenger and freight movements), retail commerce, and population that Seattle expects to experience in this time frame; be user-friendly enough to be easily administered; self-sustaining financially; and reflect Smart Growth principles—mixed uses, housing and transportation choice, certainty, fiscal responsibility, open space preservation.
Student teams presented recommendations to course co-instructors Anne Goodchild, Ed McCormack, Kirk Hovenkotter (Executive Director, Greater Redmond Transportation Management Association), and Paolo Nunes Ueno (Mobility Consultant), and "judges" Rico Quirindongo (Chair, Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority and Principal Architect, DLR Group) and Catherine Stanford (Consultant, BOMA Seattle King County and former Director of Real Estate, Pike Place Market).
Timing: September - December 2019
Project: Logistics and Transportation Analysis: Transporting Youth Athletes
Partner: Seattle United Youth Soccer Club
Background: The Seattle United Youth Soccer Club is a branch of the U.S. Soccer Federation that recruits youth athletes from across King County, including Seattle and neighboring Bellevue and Redmond.
Summary: The Club faces unique logistical challenges including transporting youth players (who are mostly under 16 years old and unable to drive themselves) to practice, competing with other soccer clubs and sports to reserve field time from Seattle Parks (fields can be unusable due to turf conditions, lack of field amenities, and safety concerns), and scheduling field time that is released one or two months in advance.
Students in Prof. Anne Goodchild's Civil & Environmental Engineering CET 587 course: Transportation and Logistics studied strategies to identify viable transportation solutions and reduce individual athlete and team VMT and commuting time to practice and games, and proposed several different recommendations to Seattle United staff and board, including:
- Assigning inter-team carpools: Implementing assigned coordinated carpools to games and practices based on residence, regardless of team assignments, reducing VMT emissions, carbon emissions, and burden on families.
- Implementing group practices based on region: Developing "pod" practice sessions to assign players to the closest fields based on home address, reducing VMT and travel time, and assisting in scheduling.
- Creating a shuttle service with collection points: Developing a microtransit system with designated collection points to serve as catchment areas to consolidate athletes to desired locations along the shuttle service route (including both origins and destinations), increasing predictability and reliability, decreasing VMT and travel time and splitting transportation burden between Seattle United and the athletes themselves. In addition, shuttles could drive in HOV lanes.
- Allocating team practice fields according to player locations: Players would be assigned to the nearest fields to their locations, which would decrease travel time and VMT.
Timing: April - June 2018
Project: Delivering Local Produce
Partner: Vashon Fresh
Background: A pilot program launched on June 15, 2017, by the Vashon Island Growers Association (VIGA), Vashon Fresh is an online marketplace for islanders to purchase sustainably grown foods from local farmers. The goal of the project is to show that online shopping can benefit both residents and farmers by increasing customer access to a wide variety of farm fresh foods while providing farmers flexibility in inventory and pricing. Vashon Fresh is funded by the King Conservation District’s Regional Food Systems Grant program with additional support from the SCTL Center and King County’s Local Food Initiative.
Summary: The SCTL Center partnered with Vashon Fresh in the design of a logistics system. To help inform supply chain decisions, SCTL research assistant Anna Bovbjerg Alligood and students in a graduate Civil & Environmental Engineering course developed a GIS model that incorporated vehicle miles traveled (VMT), emissions data, and parameters of freshness and timing that are key in the transport of food. Results from the GIS analysis and resident surveys allowed the SCTL Center to advise Vashon Fresh on how to best serve their customers while balancing business priorities with environmental concerns.
Timing: March - June 2017
More: Vashon Fresh Launches this Week (Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber)
Project: Improving Bus Transportation
Partner: Seattle Public Schools
The Seattle Public Schools (SPS) Transportation Department works with community and professional partners to provide safe, efficient, equitable, and reliable service in support of the district's educational mission. SPS operates more than 342 bus routes for over 18,000 students.
In Spring 2016, graduate students in Prof. Anne Goodchild's CEE 587: Global Trade, Transportation, and Logistics Management undertook a community pro bono project to assist SPS in reducing vehicle miles traveled (VMT), CO2 emissions produced, ride time, and the number of routes.
Timing: January - June 2016
Project: Cookie Delivery Strategies
Partner: Girl Scouts of Western Washington
Summary: While the Girl Scout cookies sale generates key revenue for Girl Scouts, it is also an important skill development experience for Girls and their Troops. Keeping costs down in a one-time sale is difficult, particularly in a volunteer organization without established infrastructure. The cookie program is the largest girl-led entrepreneurship program in the world, and available for about six months each year. Girl Scouts leverage a variety of their retail channels to sell cookies, including Scouts selling directly to customers, selling in person from booths outside brick-and-mortar stores, selling within their own networks, and using online and mobile tools.
The Girl Scouts of Western Washington enlisted the 2015-2017 cohort of Supply Chain Transportation & Logistics masters students in Prof. Anne Goodchild's SCTL 501: Introduction to Supply Chain Transportation Logistics & Analysis course to help increase supply chain performance for Girl Scout cookies. Students were asked to analyze and strategize the Scout cookie supply chain, use historical data and analytics to forecast future demand, manage inventory, plan deliveries, and evaluate new strategies to better achieve their sales goals.
Timing: September 2015
How we work
Read our research publications
Media recognition of the Urban Freight Lab
Learn about our current research
Meet our members
About the Urban Freight Lab (UFL): An innovative public-private partnership housed at the Supply Chain Transportation & Logistics Center at the University of Washington, the Urban Freight Lab is a structured workgroup that brings together private industry with City transportation officials to design and test solutions around urban freight management.
About the Supply Chain Transportation & Logistics Center: The Supply Chain Transportation and Logistics Center at the University of Washington is the go-to place to analyze and solve urban goods delivery, sustainability, logistic hubs and ports, and freight system performance management problems that overlap private and public spaces and control. Our work integrates in-depth consultation with industry and the public sector, transformative research, and executive education, and serves the powerful nexus of industry, transportation infrastructure, and policymakers.