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The idea of public transportation is supported by most in theory but often heavily criticized by users when put into application. There are common tensions that are related to public transportation, as described by frequent users: unreliable, too crowded, and slow. The University of Nebraska-Omaha (UNO) is a growing metropolitan institution that uses a shuttle system to transport students among their three campuses daily. As of 2015, the current total student enrollment is approximately 16,000; UNO plans to enroll 20,000 students by 2020. The expected student growth is also reflected by the current construction of new buildings and expansion of UNO's campus. Like most metropolitan universities, space and parking on a college campus is a limited resource, and UNO's shuttle transportation system plays a vital role in ensuring student mobility between campuses. With growing pressure from the UNO community to improve kinesis there is a need to optimize intra-campus transportation in an environmentally sustainable manner. To alleviate the tensions involved with the UNO shuttle system, we have created an algorithm to model shuttle routes using graph theory. Once modeled, our program chooses an optimized route based on various conditions: time, volume of students anticipated to use the shuttle, and fuel cost. The algorithm created can be used to optimize transportation routes, alleviate user tension, and decrease the carbon footprint of transportation networks. Our project thus charts the future by improving student transportation methods and people movement between urban campuses in an environmentally friendly and efficient way.


Presented at CUMU Charting the Future of Metropolitan Universities, October 23-25, 2016, Washington, DC.