Effective efforts in Chicago, Detroit
Students’ App Alerts CTA Riders to Broken Elevators
A class project undertaken by two Loyola University Chicago graduate students has resulted in a smartphone app that alerts Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) riders when elevators are broken down at the rail system’s “L” stations, Block Club Chicago reported in January. When Tyler Arndt and Sam Siner, students in Loyola’s graduate software engineering program, were assigned a class project, they focused on creating an app that would be useful to people in the community. Knowing how important elevators are to users of the transit system — especially those with disabilities and parents with strollers — they decided to develop “Elevate Chicago,” an app that informs people when elevators are out of service at “L” stations. About 70% of the stations are equipped with elevators, but the two said breakdowns are common. Elevate Chicago can tell users if the elevators at their preferred stations are out of service. It also offers push notifications, which give users information about elevators without having to open the app. It was originally available for Android phones only, but Arndt and Siner were working on an iOS version for Apple phones.
Wayne State Tackles Elevator Maintenance Issues
The Facilities Planning and Management (FP&M) department at Wayne State University in Detroit recently launched a program to better organize maintenance and repair of the school’s 145 elevators, Today@Wayne, an online campus newsletter, reported in January. Officials with FP&M, working with maintenance provider Schindler and consultant National Elevator, say the process has shown good results. “We are pleased with the momentum we have gained through working with our consultant, National Elevator, in assessing and prioritizing our elevator repair strategy,” said Robert J. Davenport, associate vice president, FP&M. “Additionally, we are encouraged with the progress we are making in completing elevator modifications and repairs to Old Main, State Hall, Manoogian, Parking Structure 2, Applebaum, Scott Hall, Elliman, Engineering, 5425 Woodward and Life Science, to name a few.”
The elevators are spread across 125 campus buildings, some of which were built as far back as the 1930s. The source noted that replacement parts are often not available or are obsolete, and the problem has been compounded by a shortage of qualified technicians. “The demand is huge,” said David Kuffner, director of trades maintenance at FP&M, who noted that companies ranging from OEMs to small independents are competing for technicians with the right skills. Part of Wayne State’s solution is to have two Schindler technicians assigned exclusively to the university and housed in a campus office.