Letter of Intent
Project Size: 
Large, >$1,000
Estimated Amount to be requested from the CSF: 
$30,000
Letter of Intent: 

Define the campus environmental problem that you are attempting to solve:
The primary campus environmental problem this project addresses is carbon emissions. It also addresses problems of resource consumption and pollution produced by the operation of vehicles and creation and maintenance of roads and parking lots.

According to the UW Climate Action Plan, 24.4% of our campus carbon emissions are attributed to commuting. UW Transportation has done an impressive job, particularly with the U-Pass program, and our current mode-split is commendable by US standards. But there is plenty of room for improvement. For example, about 1/3 of UW commuters currently walk or bicycle for their commute but twice that many (about 60%) of the campus population lives within
5 miles of campus which puts them within comfortable bicycling/walking distance (bicycling is generally the most cost and time-efficient form of transportation for distances between 2 and 5 miles according to the Cascade Bicycle Club, and walking is very viable at shorter distances).
Not only will a switch to lower-impact forms of transportation reduce our environmental impact, but they will reduce traffic congestion, improve health and create a more humane campus environment (some interesting research shows positive effects of reduced vehicle
traffic on quality of life: http://www.streetfilms.org/revisiting-donald-appleyards-livable-streets/ )

Describe your proposed solution to this problem:
The proposed solution is a web-based tool which allows people to indicate the start and endpoints of their commute and be provided with a “Commuter Profile” which gives them information about their commuting options including suggested routes (provided by Google Maps), estimated costs and benefits (money spent, calories burned, carbon emissions produced), resources available to UW commuters (e.g. UPass, bike facilities, ride-sharing
resources, telecommuting policies, etc) and other motivational/inspirational information about the benefits of more environmentally friendly commuting options (e.g. profiles of commuters and expert advice offered by UW researchers and professionals).

Changing commuting behavior is not easy. People have logistical, health, and practical reasons for choosing their commute option. There are real hurdles to switching. Enabling a switch requires the alignment of many factors in an individual’s life. This proposed project doesn’t address all of those factors, but it does address the information/education.

To see an early design mock-up, go to http://staff.washington.edu/ostergrn/Commuting/CommuterInterface2.swf

My vision is that a link to this tool would be provided to all students/faculty/staff to accompany the information that is sent out each quarter with the UPass (this is something that Transportation Services would help determine). It could also be available from MyUW.

What form and amount of student leadership will your project involve?
This project will be overseen, managed and carried out by students who will coordinate their efforts with UW staff (Transportation Services). Students will not only do the design and technical work, but also interact with staff and faculty to gather feedback and support, conduct usability testing, and identify the substantial resources the UW community can provide (e.g.expertise on relevant topics ranging from the health impacts of different commuting modes to
urban planning and policy-setting to support commuters).

What type and amount of outreach and education will your project involve?
The finished project will provide education/awareness about the environmental impacts and personal/social impacts of various commuting options to everyone who uses it (potentially the entire UW community).
The process of creating the project will involve outreach to UW staff and faculty to garner their support and, in the process, create mutual awareness of the resources the UW has to address and minimize its own environmental impacts.

What amount of funds do you anticipate your project will require from the CSF?
The funds required for this project include money to pay students for their work and money to reimburse participants in focus groups and usability testing. The funds will support the UW (i.e.by helping to fund UW students, by using UW catering and by reimbursing via the Husky card to encourage on-campus purchasing). 

What you see below is a very rough estimate of the magnitude of funds needed to make this project successful:

Approximately $30,000

$1,600-12,000
2 quarters, Half-time Graduate or undergraduate student:
Coordinator: An individual who will oversee the work of the developers, conduct the focus groups, and gather information about UW research and professional expertise.

2 quarters, $1,600-8,000
10-20hr/week graduate or undergraduate student for 2 quarters
($8.00-$20.00/hr):
Communication designer: Craft and frame the messages to be compelling and relevant.

2 quarters, $1,600-8,000
10-20hr/week graduate or undergraduate student for 2 quarters
($8.00-$20.00/hr):
Visual designer: Design a visually appealing and effective site.

2 quarters, $1,600-8,000
10-20hr/week graduate or undergraduate student for 2 quarters
($8.00-$20.00/hr):
Web designer: Design and implement an effective interactive interface.

2 quarters, $1,600-8,000
10-20hr/week graduate or undergraduate student for 2 quarters
($8.00-$20.00/hr):
Coder: Address the technical challenges of working with Google Maps and other online
resources to produce the recommended routes.

$300 focus groups (4, 5 people each) – buy lunch from Bay Laurel Catering
($15 each)
$300 usability testing – 4 rounds, 5 people each time, give $15 to Husky card

Contact Information
Primary Contact First & Last Name: 
Marilyn Ostergren
E-mail: 
ostergrn@uw.edu
Full Proposal

This will display after the CSF committee has reviewed and approved your LOI, and after you have received the link to edit your application.

Executive Summary: 

The proposed solution is a web-based tool which allows people toindicate the start and end-points of their commute and be provided with a “Commuter Profile” which gives them information about their commuting options including suggested routes (provided by Google Maps), estimated costs and benefits (money spent, calories burned, carbon emissions produced), resources available to UW commuters (e.g. U-PASS, bike facilities, ride-sharing resources, telecommuting policies, etc) and other motivational/inspirational information about the benefits of more environmentally friendly commuting options (e.g. profiles of commuters and expert
advice offered by UW researchers and professionals). My vision is that a link to this tool would be provided to all students/faculty/staff to accompany the information that is sent out each quarter with the U-PASS (this is
something that Transportation Services would help determine).

Purpose/Goal: To encourage low-impact commuting options by presenting information which conveys the message that these options are viable and achievable, and that they have significant health and monetary benefits as well as environmental ones.

Total amount requested from the CSF: 
$30 000
This funding request is a: 
Grant
Budget: 
ItemCost per ItemQuantityTotal Cost
Personnel & Wages
Coordinator$8,000-12,000 1$8,000-12,000
Communication designer$1,600-8,000 1$1,600-8,000
Visual designer$1,600-8,0001$1,600-8,000
Web designer$1,600-8,0001$1,600-8,000
Coder$1,600-8,0001$1,600-8,000
General Supplies & Other
focus groups$300
usability testing$754$300
CSF GRAND TOTAL$30,000
Sustainability Impact: 
Transportation
Sustainability Challenge: 
The primary campus environmental problem this project addresses is carbon emissions. It also addresses problems of resource consumption and pollution produced by the operation of vehicles and creation and maintenance of roads and parking lots. Not only will a switch to lower-impact forms of transportation reduce our environmental impact, but they will reduce traffic congestion, improve health and create a more humane campus environment (some interesting research shows positive effects of reduced vehicle traffic on quality of life: www.streetfilms.org/revisiting-donald-appleyards-liveable-streets/)
 

 

Explain how the impacts will be measured: 

Carbon emissions: The UW monitors carbon emissions from commuting.
Mode Split (e.g. percentage of the campus population that uses each form of transportation): We regularly survey the campus population to determine commuting modes and gather other information about commuting behavior.

These parameters are the ones that will be influenced by this project, but of course, we won’t be able to assume that any changes are the result of this project alone. The evaluation phase (described above) is where we’ll attempt to tease out the effectiveness of this particular piece on commuting behavior. In future, Transportation Services could add questions about the Commuter Profile site to their existing commuting behavior questionnaire to track ongoing success.

The results will be reported to Transportation Services and, if they are compelling enough to make a good story, to the broader UW community via the Daily, University Week, etc.

Education & Outreach: 

The finished project will provide education/awareness about the environmental impacts and personal/social impacts of various commuting options to everyone who uses it (potentially the entire UW community).

The process of creating the project will involve outreach to UW staff and faculty to garner their support and, in the process, create mutual awareness of the resources the UW has to address and minimize its own environmental impacts.

Student Involvement: 

 This project will be entirely student driven. Students will not only do the design and technical work, but also interact with staff and faculty to gather feedback and support,conduct usability testing, and identify the substantial resources the UW community can provide (e.g. expertise on relevant topics ranging from the health impacts of different commuting modes to urban planning and policy-setting to support commuters).

Timeline: 
TaskDate
Start DateImmediately Upon Approval
Date by which you will need the first installment of the CSF grantThe best case scenario will be that I can find a coordinator to begin Spring quarter which would mean that I would need the fund before the quarter begins.
Date by which you expect to have spent all CSF fundsJanuary, 2012
Target date for submitting final project report to the CSF OfficeJanuary, 2012
Milestones
hire the project coordinatorMarch 28 or June 20
The rest of the milestones will be dependent upon that date and upon other hires.
Photo Source: 
UW Commuter Calculator
Year: 
Amount Awarded: 
$30,000
Project status: 
Completed