We wanted to challenge ourselves. We wanted to build a platform for low-income students who missed the buses in the morning and need to arrive to school. We also want to provide the same services to the same students who might miss the bus after school (due to extracurriculars, office hours, etc.) and have no way to get home but to walk, and at times rather long distances. Some students on the team had similar experiences, and we really wanted to find a way to provide transportation services to these students and lessen the burden on their mental and physical stress.
What it does
Our platform is a designated platform for the school itself, as well as students that need the transportation service and the volunteer drivers that are willing to provide the services. The volunteer drivers include the parents of other students, the community volunteer services (EMS, Fire, etc), and drivers with relevant credentials and a large number of community service hours. We want the school to create accounts for the drivers and the students to access the web application, and the school would be able to administer the entirety of the process between a student requesting a ride and the volunteer drivers providing the ride.
How we built it
The web application is composed of the frontend, which is created through HTML, CSS, and Bootstrap. The middleware we used was React.js, and this allowed us to both dynamically change the user interace, as well as connect to the MongoDB in the backend. It also allowed us to create a socket connection between the driver and the student, providing feedback to both parties to ensure that the request from the student reached a driver.
Challenges we ran into
The whole team was not familiar with React.js and its versatility is various applications and functionalities, so we spent a lot of time looking up specific functions, methods, and React.js-specific syntax. We also had to utilize the Google Maps API, which also took a bit of time to understand and integrate into our application.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Our application has completely integrated the Google Maps API, and we have set up geolocation trackers for the driver and the student. We have also considered the best practices for security for students and drivers who are using our application, such as password encryption and token authentication. We also thoroughly discussed the absolute importance of the safety of the students, which is why we limited the pool of possible drivers to parents of students, volunteer and community services, and people with a large number of community service time and good service references.
What we learned
For an application like ours, our absolute focus is on the safety of the students. For this reason, other than maximizing the mitigation of risk in our application, we would also need to thoroughly talk to the schools to ensure that all safety measures are taken for drivers who are willing to provide transportation services.
What's next for EdVoR
We want to be able to add further functionality that we believe is essential to the application, and we hope to be able to find a school community to test our application. We believe that schools nationwide will be able to utilize our application and provide services to these students in need.