An Update from the Office of Metropolitan Impact, April 2020

April 29, 2020

OMI works with professors, organizations, communities to create change.

Creating connections

Assisted by the Office of Metropolitan Impact, Associate Professor Yi-Su Chen's Supply Chain Analytics class researched four topics for their final project —voter turnout, Dearborn recycling service, east side transportation and e-tailers.

OMI staff has partnered with Dr. Chen’s classes previously to help with real-life research and facilitating partnerships. Past semester connections made have been with the Dearborn Fire Department and Dearborn Department of Sanitation.

The voter turnout project looked at the issue of low voter turnout in Michigan and Detroit in particular. Accessibility seems to play a factor in this, and gaps in voter turnout historically affect marginalized groups of people. The analysis showed there needs to be more frequent buses and more bus stops to help access to polling places. The team then made suggestions for improvements based on their data. 

For the recycling project, they looked at GFL, the company currently servicing Dearborn.  Their service time often goes beyond regular hours and the group is proposing ways to eliminate overtime through either renting more trucks or opening a new facility in Dearborn.  According to the data they had available, the cheapest solution appeared to be renting an extra truck — at least for the summer. 

The east side transportation group looked at transportation issues for UM-Dearborn students and how to improve student access using public transportation. Their key metric was to improve percentage of demand served by modifying existing routes and proposing new routes.  They are working off the assumption that students who were admitted but didn’t enroll was due to lack of transportation. The group made five recommendations to route changes based on their findings. 

The e-tailer project focused on helping determine optimal inventory during busy and regular seasons so inventory issues can be prevented.  Using two approaches, they analyzed the data of purchases and ratings and made recommendations based on that data.

The students get the opportunity to meet with those actually working on the issue they are researching and often get access to materials they might not otherwise have. They then presented their findings on April 16 to Associate Provost Ilir Miteza, accomplished engineer Susan Grasso, and OMI Director Tracy Hall, among others. 

Public Allies Metro Detroit: Change the Face of Leadership in Detroit

Public Allies is a national movement committed to advancing social justice and equity by engaging and activating leaders. Hosted within the Office of Metropolitan Impact at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Public Allies Metro Detroit is one of 24 national sites working to achieve this mission: to create a just and equitable society and the diverse leadership to sustain it. Apply for your 10-month apprenticeship or host an Ally at your organization.

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