VCU awarded $25,000 Ford C3 grant for transportation application

‘Building Sustainable Transportation in RVA’ will address important and unmet community needs

A team of Virginia Commonwealth University students has received a coveted 2013-2014 Ford College Community Challenge grant awarded to colleges and universities for projects that support service learning on campus.

The team — comprising students from the VCU schools of Business and Engineering, the College of Humanities and Sciences and counterparts from the University of Richmond — received $25,000 for its project "Building Sustainable Transportation in RVA." Students will assist in developing RVAPASS, a smartphone-enabled multimodal transportation access and payment system that will unify Richmond’s transportation network. The application will be designed to provide easier mobility for residents and visitors and to reduce vehicle miles traveled.

"VCU is very proud to be part of the Ford Motor Co. C3 grant universities that were selected to participate in this important and impactful endeavor," said Van R. Wood, Ph.D., Philip Morris Chair in International Business, and professor of marketing in the VCU School of Business. "The list of universities receiving grants represents a most prestigious group of research-oriented, community-focused institutions of higher education. VCU has worked with Ford over the past three years on other projects and sincerely appreciates the opportunity to collaborate in partnership with this outstanding global, Fortune 50 company."

The Ford College Community Challenge (Ford C3) is a national challenge grant competition that recognizes colleges and universities that utilize a school's resources to address an urgent community need related to the grant's theme: “Building Sustainable Communities.” Unlike many college grant programs, Ford C3 requires colleges to create proposals that have significant student input, involvement and leadership from beginning to end.

The student team is collaborating with the Bryan Innovation Lab at The Steward School. The Bryan Innovation Lab is the fiscal agent for the grant and is partnering with Project STIRand Richmond 2015to support the student-led project.

“We built the Bryan Innovation Lab to give our students a space where they could ask and answer open-ended problems that affect our community," said Cary Jamieson, director of the Bryan Innovation Lab at The Steward School. "We love that students at VCU and UR will model this kind of creative problem-solving for our students.”

“Building Sustainable Transportation in RVA” aims to help low-income community members gain access to jobs across the Richmond region as well as support the run up to the 2015 UCI Road World Cycling Championship, which is expected to bring more than 450,000 spectators to the city.

About VCU and VCU Medical Center

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see