Data Collection

We acquired data from various different sources to extract the data points needed to complete our integer programming formulations and construct our volunteering model.

CarShare Data from the Gephardt Institute

The CarShare data, which was provided to us by the Gephardt Institute, includes the date, time, trip distance, and cost for every CarShare reservation placed through Gephardt in the last fiscal year. From this, we were able to infer the passenger demand on a given day, student availabilities, and the most common volunteering time duration. The reservations by day and by month are shown below. 

Volunteer Sign-Up

The constraints of our integer programs also required us to know the approximate number of students with cars on campus who would be interested in participating in a ride sharing program. To acquire this information, we asked for volunteers who would be willing to participate in a program where students with cars offer rides to students who wish to volunteer in the community. Via a form we sent to 140 students, 43 students offered to participate in the program by driving students to and from volunteering destinations.

Gephardt Student Survey

We also acquired data on the common volunteering locations of WashU students in order to create a list of locations and their distances from campus. Working with the Gephardt Institute, we were able to conduct a survey of their community partners and student volunteers. After a brief analysis of the results, used in conjunction with our own research on student group websites, we identified the 16 most popular volunteering locations, which we use in our volunteer model.