2013 PACE Collaboration & Innovation Challenge
Partners for the Advancement of Collaborative Engineering Education (PACE)
Washington, DC was ranked number 1 in the United States in 2012 (Schrank et al. 2012) in the following: Yearly delay per auto commuter, Excess fuel per auto commuter, Congestion cost per auto commuter, and Pounds of CO2 produced in congestion per auto commuter.
The current mass transportation system in the District of Columbia, and its environs, lacks cohesion. In fact, components of this system, instead of being synergistic, are actually in conflict with each other. The influx of private vehicles due to continued population increase creates the very traffic congestion that renders the public ground transportation less-effective. Lack of effective cohesion between street and rail transportation means that there are instances when neither system runs in-sync with the other. This leads to longer wait times between transfers from one system to the other.
In light of these issues, the Howard University collaborative team, comprised of the Departments of Art and Mechanical Engineering were tasked with designing a more effective public transportation system for DC and its environs. In recognizing the importance of the Capital bikeshare program, due to its successful implementation in DC and its expansion to neighboring states linked by the DMV public transportation network, a plan to extend its range through the inclusion of pod cars is proposed. The Howard University collaborative team designed the pod cars and a unique system for dispensing them.