Community Projects

In addition to funded research projects, the Supply Chain Transportation & Logistics Center takes on pro bono research for community organizations. These nonprofit partners have a research problem but lack resources to address the question. SCTL Center students take on projects in an educational context and develop professional skills and apply newly learned methods for mutual benefit. Three recent pro bono projects are described below.

If you are interested in partnering with the Center, please contact sctl@uw.edu.


University of Washington Department of Laboratory Medicine: Route Optimization (2020)

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 in complexity and requirements such as turnaround of results.

The SCTL Center partnered with the University of Washington 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 a 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 through 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

Pike Place Market: Market Design and Operational (MDO) Plan (2019)

Students in the 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. 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).


Seattle United Youth Soccer Club: Logistics and Transportation Analysis (2018)

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. 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 the 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 bases on region: Developing "pod" practice sessions to assign players to the closest fields based on home address, reducing VMT and travel time and aiding 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 location: Players would be assigned to the nearest fields to their locations, which would decrease travel time and VMT.

Vashon Fresh Project: Delivering Local Produce (2017)

A pilot program launched on June 15, 2017 by the Vashon Island Grower's Association, 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 ordering can benefit both residents and farmers by increasing 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.

The SCTL Center partnered with Vashon Fresh in the design of their 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, emissions data, and parameters of freshness and timing that are key in the transportation 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.


Seattle Public Schools Project: Improving Bus Transportation (2016)

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 CEE 587: Global Trade, Transportation, and Logistics Management analyzed existing SPS bus routes and identified opportunities for improvements to reduce service miles, CO2 emissions, ride time, and number of routes. 

 


Girl Scouts of Western Washington Project: Cookie Delivery (2015)

The Girl Scouts of Western Washington enlisted the help of the 2015 cohort of Supply Chain Transportation & Logistics masters students in SCTL 501: Logistics & Analysis to develop and evaluate the potential for new supply chain strategies to better meet their annual cookie sales goals. While the cookie sale generates key revenue for Girl Scouts, it is also an important skill development experience for Girls and their Troops. Keeping cost down in a one-time sale is difficult, particularly in a volunteer organization without established infrastructure.

 

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