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University of Michigan School of Information


Collaborative Research: Shared Mobility Systems to Address Transportation Barriers of Underserved Urban and Rural Communities

Due to advances in networked information systems and ubiquitous connectivity, use of shared mobility systems is increasingly common. Underserved communities typically have the greatest needs for low-cost and high-quality shared transportation services. Yet, these communities experience financial, technical, skill-based and social barriers to their use. Therefore, we will develop and evaluate a shared mobility system to improve health care access in two underserved communities: Western Detroit in Michigan and rural South-Central Indiana.

Study Aim 1 is to assess transportation needs/barriers and generate participatory design ideas for a shared mobility system using the timebanking concept. Sessions will focus on: trust, reciprocity, design for skill development and access for people with limited computer skills and Internet access. We will interview patients and potential drivers in Indiana, and conduct participatory design sessions in Detroit and Indiana with these groups, and third-party intermediaries.

Aim 2 is to develop and implement a shared mobility system for healthcare transportation; new features based on Aim 1 will be integrated into an existing timebank platform. This aim will involve a pre-pilot field study.

Aim 3 involves evaluating the feasibility and preliminary impact of the system on the primary outcome of missed appointments at healthcare organizations. This will involve a four-month pilot study using an interrupted time series quasi-experimental design. Analyses will leverage electronic health record data, timebank platform server log data, user surveys, and observation at healthcare organizations. 

Principal Investigator: Tiffany Veinot 

Co-investigators: Tawanna Dillahunt

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End Date:

The amount of the award is $288,231. The grant is funded by the National Science Foundation.