CARPOOL Management App

Designed by COMM205-503 Group 4

Contributers

Daniel Zandstra

Siru Li

Bryan Conlee

Kalvin Hwang

Caroline Benner

CARPOOP to CARPOOL (Daniel Zandstra)

Frat Stars, Foundies, and FlOs, Oh My!

Freedom has always been something that humanity has rallied around. Whether it was William Wallace shouting, “You may take our lives, but you’ll never take our freedom” (Gibson n.p.) in Mel Gibson’s Braveheart, or Patrick Henry’s famous “Liberty or Death” speech (“Patrick Henry’s” n.p.), we have always proven our love of freedom. Many college students use this anthem as an excuse or a validation of their poor choices. They have the freedom to drink and party and have the freedom to do whatever they want. Although we know that drunk driving is a problem, we often times are given hard reminders of the consequences of driving while intoxicated.

The Painful Truth

One example of this is just this last Sunday when two brothers and one of their girlfriends were driving in Albuquerque when they were hit and killed by a drunk driver (Banitz n.p.). The Mendez brothers and Grace Sinfield were doing nothing wrong and were removed from the earth by someone who couldn’t just put his keys away. This is in no way an isolated incident. The CDC says that every day almost 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This means that more than one person dies every hour all day every day. Another sobering statistic is that alcohol use was most common among "21-25 year olds” (“Results” n.p.). The problem in all of these cases is that not having real alternatives means that they still have to get home and are willing to risk it all to get home.

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The Problem with the Solution

One existing solution to this problem that is here in College station is CARPOOL. CARPOOL sates that its mission is to “facilitate a safe and reliable commuting environment in the Bryan/College Station area by providing free, non-judgmental rides home to intoxicated patrons and/or patrons rendered incapable of transportation due to other circumstances” (“About Us” n.p.). The only problem is that as we asked our friends and fellow classmates, we realized that CARPOOL is notoriously slow.

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Our Proposal

We believe that any idea brought forward as a solution for this problem should meet these four criteria:

1. The solution must be useful to the volunteers.

2. The solution must help to make CARPOOL more time efficient.

3. The solution must help CARPOOL more cost efficient.

4. The solution must increase CARPOOL’s desirability.

Keeping this in mind, our solution is to create an interactive APP that will include various different features that will help to fulfill each of these criteria.

Meeting Demands

A map interface could alone help in almost all criteria. It will help the volunteers because a pin drop or GPS location will will give the driver an exact location to pick the person up at instead of having to worry about dealing with potentially drunk patrons. This will also help with time efficiency because an efficient directions system will guide the drivers to their given location. Likewise, cost efficiency will be boosted because of more efficient routes. All of these things will help to increase desirability across the board. Aside from simply a map, a donation platform will help to make giving to CARPOOL easier and more accessible.

Pros, Cons, and alternatives

The implementation of this app could help to save lives by providing viable alternative transportation.

If not ignored, CARPOOL will continue to run inefficiently and will never reach its potential for saving people from themselves.

We can create mobile browser app to help with the drawback of not having good compatibility across phone types.

Listen-Think-Decide

1. Listen to and read my colleagues’ more in depth arguments about each individual criteria.

2. As you listen, Think of the lives that could be saved.

3. Decide to help produce and to use our app.

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Speed/Efficiency

Why we care?

The CARPOOL service is setup and operated by Aggies, as part of the Aggie family and a computer engineer, it is my responsibility to bring improvements to the CARPOOL service.


The CARPOOL service was originally setup to provide safe rides to intoxicated patrons.

Credibility Statement

I have gathered opinions from CARPOOL users and information on other similar apps such as Uber as well as my expertise in the field of computer engineering to make the app viable.

Need/Problem

However, the speed of the current CARPOOL service varies significantly.

1. When asked about the average time between someone calling and being picked up, Matthew, a CARPOOL member said ' it really all depends on what day it is and what time you call.'

2. Joanathan Hsia, an Aggie who regularly goes to Northgate, said that he once wanted to use the CARPOOL service, but the CARPOOL driver was not ready to pick him up even after an hour of waiting, therefore, he decided to use Uber which only took him 10 minutes.

3. With the increasing demand, CARPOOL is experiencing increasingly heavy pressure on dealing with efficiency.

Satisfaction

As a result, some solution needs to be introduced in order to continue the success CARPOOL has had.


There are 3 criteria need to be met in order for such a solution to be viable.

1. First, It must not increase cost by a large amount.

2. Second, it should be able to provide dynamic location information to the patron.

3. Third, it must be effective in improving speed.


Therefore, our CARPOOL Management App provides a great solution and meets all the above criteria.

1. The cost of developing an app can be very low.

2. The app will have a dynamic map like the one Uber has, which gathers driver's location based on GPS.

3. Our app also automatically calculates the most optimal route through mapping which will significantly increase efficiency.

Some concerns people may have

Nevertheless, some people may be aware that CARPOOL is a non-profit organization, therefore, limiting its budget is crucial.


In fact, there are excellent computer scientists at Texas A&M University that are willing to build such a software for free as their contribution to the CARPOOL service.

Visualization

I Believe with the adoption of our app, the speed and efficiency of CARPOOL service will improve significantly.


So in the future, you will be able to locate a CARPOOL driver on your phone, request for pick up and then the app will calculate the most optimal route and order of dropping each patron.


Its efficiency along with the dynamic map and information system, will significantly improve user experience.


Although it takes some time for people to get familiar to the system, this app will be much helpful in the long run.

Works Cited

Hsia, Jonathan. Personal interview. 30 Nov 2015.


Huang, Matthew. Personal interview. 30 Nov 2015.


Thomas, Carter. "How Much Does It Cost to Develop an App?" How Much Does It Cost To Develop an App. N.p., 6 Mar. 2011. Web. 01 Dec. 2015.

Cost of CARPOOL Services

Importance of Cost Efficiency

Nothing can be considered efficient unless it is also cost efficient. For a nonprofit organization like CARPOOL that derives all of its funds from donations, making the most of every dollar is absolutely imperative. For CARPOOL, any shortage in resources can make the difference on whether an Aggie gets a safe ride home or not.
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Just How Much Money Does it Take?

CARPOOL, even as a student organization, receives and uses a lot of money every week. According to their website, they give an average of 650 rides per weekend. GasBuddy's data states that the average gas price in College Station as of 12/7/15 was $1.84. Combine these numbers with the assumption that the average ride is 15 miles and driven by a car with about 25 mpg, and that becomes $718 per weekend spent solely on gas. This is only including the rides that were completed, unfortunately. According to Matthew Mulkey in an interview, one of the biggest problems faced by carpool is volunteers driving to pick patrons up, only to realize they got another ride and did not call to cancel. Obviously, this hikes up the costs while only serving to slow down the process of ride giving.

How the CARPOOL App Can Help

A solution to the cost issues faced by CARPOOL would have to satisfy the following criteria:


  1. It must reduce the number of unreported cancellations.
  2. It must help to attract donors.
  3. It should be able to be implemented at a minimal cost to CARPOOL.


The proposed CARPOOL Management App would satisfy all of these criteria. With all the features described elsewhere on the page as well as the added feature of one-click cancellation of rides, the App can easily fulfill all three categories.


  1. With the one-click cancellation, patrons can quickly and easily cancel their service with CARPOOL if they find another safe ride home. This will lead to less patrons forgetting or not bothering to call HQ in order to cancel. As well, with the quick and direct process of cancellation rather than a convoluted series of searches and calls made by HQ, there is less chance that the volunteer begins driving to false pickups and wastes gas.
  2. The App will greatly increase the visibility of the service. The increased recognition alongside the official and efficient look of the App will increase revenue from current and future donors. The App will also have an inn-app donation system, so that people (including patrons satisfied with the service) can leave small, yet meaningful donations for CARPOOL.
  3. Even though App development sounds expensive, it does not have to be so. For the development side, there are thousands of bright minds all over campus, both in students and their faculty mentors, who can do some or all of the development behind the App. Since the only remaining cost would then be to publish, the cost could be as little as a one time $25 fee to publish on Google Play or a $99 annual fee for the iPhone App Store (from Android Developers and Bluecloud Solutions, respectively).


Altogether, the CARPOOL App would serve to make every dollar go farther in the CARPOOL cause. With your support to help its implementation, the CARPOOL App can make every bit of donor money go to making the most efficient system possible for protecting Aggies on their way home.

Works Cited

“About Us.” Carpool. Texas A&M University Student Activities, n.d. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.


“Get Started with Publishing.” Android Developers. Google Play, n.d. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.


“Lowest Gas Prices in College Station.” GasBuddy. OpenStore LLC, 7 Dec. 2015. Web. 7 Dec. 2015.


Melissa. “How Much Does it Cost to Create an iOS App?” Bluecloud Solutions. Bluecloud Solutions, 21 Nov. 2013. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.


Mulkey, Matthew. Personal Interview. 30 Nov. 2015.


Images:

http://www.drew-fuller.com/gas-pump-money.html

Desirability of CARPOOL Services (Caroline)

Improve Desirability to Your Users!

In addition to all of the physical problems CARPOOL faces, the desirability to its

consumers is also a huge issue. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, over 25,000 car accidents in the year 2014 were due to drinking and driving (“Drunk Driving”). Today, people have access to taxis, Uber, friends, and countless other ways to get from point A to point B, but they drunkenly choose to drive themselves. Why? There are various reasons, but a main reason in the Bryan-College Station area is that it takes too long. The people in the BCS area would rather drive themselves than wait for a ride home. CARPOOL is among the safe rides home, but is still neglected by the public although it is free to use. The simple solution is the implementation of a smart phone application for the users of CARPOOL.

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Why Aren't People Using CARPOOL?

In a personal interview with College Station resident Olivia Fotopoulos, the services of CARPOOL are explained as “slow” and “uncertain” (Fotopoulos). Fotopoulos said that she has waited for a ride from CARPOOL for as long as an hour, and has known other people that have waited longer. She also said that is uncertain as to when your ride will be available to arrive. From the moment you get off the phone with the volunteers in the Dispatch center in the CARPOOL Headquarters, you are in the dark as to how long you’ll be waiting for your ride. In relation to CARPOOL, Fotopoulos touched upon a similar service known as Uber. This is a taxi service that has proven successful with the use of an app (Time Magazine). The Uber app allows the customer to request a ride, tells the customer an estimated time of arrival, and even show a picture of their driver.

APP Features

In order for the CARPOOL app to be implemented, it must meet three criteria:

  1. Must be easy to use
  2. Must be available to the users of CARPOOL
  3. Must increase the desirability of CARPOOL services

The suggested app for CARPOOL will have features similar to the Uberapp as well as a few extra features. The features will allow the users to request a ride, cancel a ride see where they are in line, see the various CARPOOL cars’ current location, see the number of people in the Northgate Dispatch station, and give an estimated time of arrival. This would meet the three criteria by having a simple interface and instructions included in the app to help new users maneuver the app. It will also be available in the Apple and Android App Stores, and will hopefully spread to others once the demand increases. Finally, the app will boost the desirability of CARPOOL by making it easier than ever to use. Instead of calling HQ and being placed on a long line, you can request a ride on the app and have an estimated time of arrival. Should something come up and you no longer need the ride, you can cancel the ride as easily as you requested it.

The implementation of this app is imperative for the organization’s future. The users of CARPOOL are fed up with the lack of speed and information. Should CARPOOL continue with their old ways of solely phone calls, the organization will continue to lose customers as well as help keep the BCS area safe from drunk drivers.

Works Cited

Information

“Drunk Driving.” MADD 35. Mothers Against Drunk Driving. 2015. Web. 30 November 2015.


“Everything You Need to Know About Uber.” Time. Time Magazine. 4 November 2014. Web. 22 November 2015.


Fotopoulos, Olivia. Personal interview. 22 November 2015.


Images

http://i0.wp.com/www.confessionsoftheprofessions.com/uploads/drink-driving-e1418959113361.jpg?resize=500%2C248

Volunteering

Make it APPealing!

An organization such as CARPOOL relies almost completely on the participation of its members who are a volunteer group of students working late nights especially on the weekends. An app would be instrumental in not only bringing in new volunteers, but motivate the current volunteers to stay and continue to help their community. First, we need to look at why this is a critical issue for the organization: there is a need for this app to bring and keep new volunteers. Volunteering is a long studied and complex behavior. Working without pay and with few benefits is at face a strange and backwards line of thought. (Liddie, 6) However, it is often done because of philanthropic and altruistic reasons (Mulkey, CARPOOL) People who volunteer find a more intangible satisfaction that is difficult to find elsewhere (Bereczkei, 97). Despite these reasons, involvement is still an issue with many organizations, especially ones such as CARPOOL. It is an organization run by college students, who are among the busiest, most time-restricted, and least-wealthy demographic of volunteers (About Us, 1). The volunteers therefore almost exclusively do it for the service of their community, which limits growth (Mulkey, CARPOOL). As a result, on busy nights the organization is short staffed, stretched thin, and puts strain on the workers, endangering their commitment to volunteering (Mulkey, CARPOOL) Simply hoping for more volunteers each year cannot bring the necessary change the organization needs. The issue of volunteer growth and retention can be addressed using technology.