Next Gen Mobility

IDSA Student Member Part of Winning Team in Toyota Challenge

A team of Georgia Tech design students, including an IDSA student member, has won the Next Generation Mobility Challenge—co-created by Toyota and Net Impact to inspire young people to develop mobility solutions for social equity and inclusion, improve and streamline transportation and help solve social impact issues in communities around the world.

The students designed an app-based taxi service specifically geared toward people in wheelchairs. ParaPickup is a ridesharing service for vehicles equipped to serve those in wheelchairs. “ParaPickup is filling the necessary gap that the 'paratransit' and ridesharing services fail to fill,” Sally Xia, who's working on a master’s degree in digital design, tells Holly Beilin of hypepotamus. Xia explains that currently, wheelchairs users either spend $40,000 on a adaptive vehicle, or schedule paratransit 24 hours in advance, and in Georgia, only runs in two counties.

The team—which also includes industrial and product design grad student Pranav Nair, S/IDSA; ID grad student Riley Keen; and mechanical engineering undergraduate student Kris Weng—is interning with Toyota Social Innovation in Texas this summer to further develop ParaPickup and maybe even bring the idea to life.

“Toyota co-created the Next Generation Mobility Challenge with Net Impact because, big picture, we care about creating better ways to enable more people to go more places—and we have a focus on helping communities with limited mobility do more,” says Julie Ann Burandt, manager of global strategy and communications, Toyota Mobility Foundation. “Toyota was impressed with the Georgia Tech team’s empathy and dedication to identifying this nuanced issue and their creativity in developing a solution.”

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