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Community Transit Hub

I conceived the concept to ensure that East Austin residents, esp. mobility challenged, are able to reach the bus stop from their homes

Photo of Sara Mitran
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I plan to design and contract the build of wi-fi enabled solar-powered air-conditioned/heated bus stop (similar concept to the Pflugerville electric charging station) that can provide shelter to commuters while waiting for the bus.  The power generated by the structure will be able to charge 8-seat golf carts, an electronic community board and vertical farms.  Golf carts will be used by residents to get to and from their homes esp. in areas where sidewalks are not available/inaccessible.  Carts will be driven by community volunteers (following the DriveaSenior model) to the bus stop and the cart will charge at the bus stop until commuters return to their neighborhoods.  The Electronic community board will host AuntBertha and commuters will be able to post community-related information (like the Soofa's digital bulletin).  The vertical farms will grow vegetables, herbs, and fruits as agreed to by the community-at-large.  Gardening responsibilities will be shared by the community.  Produce will be available for the picking (when ready as in the case of herbs) or when the harvest is announced.  The Community Transit Hub will encourage communication and awareness of each other's neighbors in a pleasant and practical way.  East Austin will be the first community in the entire Austin area that will have Community Transit Hubs.  

https://gajitz.com/cold-canadian-bus-stops-are-heated-by-human-connections/

http://www.hellodubai.hu/legkondicionalt-buszmegallok/

https://www.lucidmanagementgroup.com/product-types/heated-shelters/

Describe who will use your solution (1,000 characters)

I am handicapped and I have a doctor's appointment at 9 am tomorrow morning. The next day around 7:30 am, I roll out of my house and reach my street's golf cart. I greet Skip who is the cart driver today. We chat until I notice that we've reached the bus stop. It's early in the morning and it's already 90 degrees. I am thankful that I can wait for the bus in the air-conditioned Community Transit Hub. I noticed the okra and strawberries are bigger and wonder if they are ready to be picked. I reach the community board and ask when we can harvest the vegetables. I am told that the harvest can be collected on Thursday evening. I can't wait to eat strawberries and cream. My bus is here and I ready to go.

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Initial Design - you are still exploring the idea and have not tested it with users

Insights from previous testing (500 characters)

I attended the ATA conference several years ago in the Boston area near a waterfront. When I was told that I could take a bus to the airport, I decided to try Boston's transportation system. It was really cold and windy. The bus stop had a door that opened and closed and it was heated inside. It was fantastic. It beat standing in the cold any time. The Pflugerville sail electric car charging station is an existing structure that was built to charge cars at no charge to residents

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

Vincent Salvo and Sara Mitran are the main contributors

Size of your team or organization

  • 2-10

Team or Organization URL

None

Funding Request

  • $100,000

Rough budget (500 characters)

I would like to acquire at least 5 8-seater golf carts. The rest of the money will be used for the design and construction of the solar-powered air-conditioned/heated bus stop structure. I consulted on prices with Pvillion (Pflugerville Sail), f2ds (El Paso Solar Bus Stop) and Lucid Mgmt Group (heated bus stops-$TBD). I'll need to have them bid and to add AC capabilities to them. Build as many as possible to run the pilot. Approx cost/each is $25-60K depending on features minus the e-board

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

I'll need to identify residential areas that are far from the bus stop and where there are at least two handicapped individuals. I would like to identify their transportation needs and schedules. Based on those findings, I'll coordinate a residential area session to identify driver volunteers and to socialize the pilot concept. I'd like to have a City Transit, Innovation and Capital Metro representatives to attend with me to give me validity. The heated/AC bus structure doesn't have to be part of the pilot idea. The concept to test is whether the difficulty in reaching the bus stop will encourage a sense of community and cooperation within a small group of neighbors without discord. The bus stop concept can be mentioned at a later stage.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

- x% of neighbors interested in being transported in a golf cart to and from the bus stop - x# of committed neighbor volunteers who agree to drive the golf cart to and from bus stop - x# of neighbors using the golf carts (i.e. conversion) - positive feedback from golf cart users - ability to build a solar-powered air-conditioned/heated bus stop - development of the electronic community board - # of people using the community board - ability to park and charge the golf carts by the bus stop - positive community feedback about the vertical farms - attendance to the vertical farm harvest - attendance to the vertical farm community training session - vertical farms in their place of origin during the pilot period

Sustainability Plan (500 characters)

Any remaining budget can be left in a bank account to cover for vertical farm repairs and/or bulletin board replacement/repair.

Social Media

I will develop a civic-oriented Twitter account when appropriate.

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