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Early Childhood Solutions and Transportation

Early Childhood Solutions and Transportation aims to increase access to safe transportation for children ages 2-5 years of age.

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Written by

Name or Organization

Aminah Wyatt-Jones and Stephen Jones

Geography

Early Childhood Transportation Solutions service delivery areas: Chicago and neighboring South Suburbs of Chicago.

What is your stage of development?

  • Early Stage Innovator, with at least one-year experience in ECD

Type

  • Team

What is the stage of your proposal?

  • Research & Early Testing: I am exploring my idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.

Describe your submission in one clear sentence

Early Childhood Solutions and Transportation aims to increase field trip opportunities for our youngest of children starting at infancy to 6 years of age by providing transportation vehicles that include the proper child safety restraints.

Describe how your solution could be a game-changer for your selected Opportunity Area (600 characters)

Early Childhood Transportation Solutions would be the first transportation services aimed at primarily serving early childhood age children in the Chicago-land area.

Select an Innovation Target

  • Service: A new or enhanced service that creates value for end beneficiaries.

Tell us more about your innovation (1500 characters)

Early Childhood Solutions and Transportation seeks to become the field trip transportation provider for children in home visiting programs(0-3yrs) and home and center based child care environments. Field trips are an integral part to early learning programs as they are a key component of enhancing a student's content knowledge; they broaden the educational experience and make a subject more relevant. Many early learning programs struggle with finding safe transportation services that include the proper seat belts and latches for car seats for children in their programs. Data shows that many school policies do not include children in field trip plans until they turn three years of age. It is especially saddening when you experience this first hand through working with school programs that service children 0-3 and staff complain about limited resources for families to attend field trips. We plan to purchase seat belts through Midwest Transportation to provide us with the proper seat belt harnesses to be added to vans/buses.

What problem are you aiming to solve? (3 sentences)

Programs such as Head Start and Early Head Start do not have a lot of transportation options in Illinois that meet the rigid safety requirements needed to transport young children, especially children 0-3 years of age. Child restraints such as the three point harness seat belts are rarely provided. Often times many programs are unable to provide an adequate amount of field trip opportunities throughout the year given the scarcity of safe transportation options.

Explain your idea (5000 characters)

We plan to start small with two vehicles/buses and child restraints that meet the transportation requirements of Head Start and Early Head Start. Once the buses/vehicles are up and running with the appropriate insurance coverage, after a year, we plan to continue to add more buses and vans. We will request to be added to the approved list of transportation providers with the city of Chicago Department of Children and Family Services.

Who benefits? (1500 characters)

Child care providers, Home Visiting programs, and families will be the primary beneficiaries of our idea. Child Care Providers will benefit because they will have access to transportation that will allow their entire program to come and not exclude anyone based on age. Families will benefit because they can rest at ease about the extra layer of seat belt protection provided to their children. I have worked and currently work with both child care providers and families in my career. They were the inspiration behind our Prize Innovation topic as they have provided me with the appropriate data points regarding problems experienced through transportation over the last three years. Home Visiting programs also benefit as they will have access to a bus provider that will have latches for car seats and three point harness for children ages two to three.

What kind of impact will your idea have? (1500 characters)

We plan to serve thousands of children each year as we plan to have a fleet of vehicles/buses that will allow us to serve more children in early learning programs. Through our existing partnerships with museums, park districts and the cultivating more, we hope to maximize group rates to ensure discounts for families/programs.

How does or how could your idea impact low-income children? (1500 characters)

Our target population is for low-income children and families. Our marketing and outreach strategy, once we begin, will focus primarily on children from under resourced and high crime communities. We want to be able to provide our children with increased opportunities to experience hands-on experiences off-site and out of their neighborhood.

Innovation: What makes your concept innovative? (1500 characters)

Our services will cater to early childhood age children only. Early learning programs already have to compete with school districts to schedule trips so why not create a transportation platform that is specific to early learning providers only. We will also work to develop referral relationships to other bus transportation providers if there is a scheduling conflict.

Scale: Describe how your idea could reach a significant number of end-users. (1500 characters)

We plan to serve thousands of children each year as we plan to have a fleet of vehicles/buses that will allow us to serve more children in early learning programs. Through our existing partnerships with museums, park districts and the cultivating more, we hope to maximize group rates to ensure discounts for families/programs.

Feasibility: Where are you with understanding the feasibility of your idea? Describe what you’ve done so far and your plans. (3000 characters)

Purchasing vehicles to include the proper safety belts will allow up to begin serving programs right away. We have already identified two bus drivers that can begin over the summer. We already have four child care programs looking to schedule events over the summer and are interested in scheduling our buses for their program .

Business Viability: How viable is your business model? (1500 characters)

There is a great need for transportation services especially for early childhood age children. Our pool of providers range from center, home, and school based programs. The great thing is that more money is being allocated to serving more children that are high need being enrolled in early learning programs, however many of these children do not have adequate field trip opportunities.

HCD: How have you used human centered design to build or refine your concept? (1500 characters)

I interviewed six home visiting programs about their transportation needs and one of the common threads shared was their wish for better transportation to include seat belt latches for car seats. In addition, by working in a Head Start program, I see barriers first hand regarding buses with no seat belts and buses without the seat belt harness for children that comply to the rules and regulations.

Tell us more about you (3000 characters)

My idea came from multiple years of working in under resourced communities and seeing how inadequate transportation affects the lives of families greatly. I have witnessed teachers calling multiple transportation companies trying to secure a spot and spending lots of time scheduling buses.

Do you have the people and partners you need to do what you’ve described? (500 characters)

We need an in transportation insurance provider.

As you consider your next steps, what kinds of help could you use? Is there a type of expertise that would be most helpful? (1800 characters)

I think it would be great to talk to someone about running a transportation business.

Are you willing to share your email contact information submitted on OpenIDEO with Gary Community Investments?

  • Yes, share my contact information

[Optional] Biography: Upload your biography. Please include links to relevant information (portfolio, LinkedIn profile, organization website, etc).

www.linkedin.com/in/aminah-wyatt-jones-85526060

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