NOLA Go! Youth Smartcard


There is an abundance of free and low-cost programs, services, and resources that exist for young people in New Orleans and that are proven to lead to enhanced youth outcomes, including higher attendance, lower dropout rates, better academic performance, less behavioral problems and improved self-esteem. Yet, 56% of youth programs in New Orleans report that their services are highly underutilized. Transportation is repeatedly sited as the single largest barrier preventing young people from accessing the services that they need to succeed in school, work, and life.

The Solution

NOLA Go! increases access to a citywide network of public transportation and a coordinated system of schools, youth services, resources, and opportunities that at-risk youth need to grow up confident, connected and ready for adulthood. This includes:

  • 200+ community-based after-school programs
  • 14 New Orleans Public Library branches
  • 10 NORDC recreation centers
  • Cultural centers like museums and parks
  • Healthy food options
  • Plus more!

NOLA Go! Pilot Program

The pilot will engage 65 at-risk youth ages 14-18 between January and May 2016. In partnership with one school and several community organizations, select participants will use a 31-day unlimited RTA transit card to travel to and from school, program sites, and home. The goal is a 20% increase in usage of community organizations as tracked by increased check-ins at the Library, NORDC centers, and other community sites, as well as increased attendance rates at partnering out-of-school programs.

Using social media check-ins, surveys and one-on-one interviews, we will collect valuable feedback directly from students and families to gather data and better understand the needs of the community. We will work with our partnering community organizations and schools to solidify systems, build relationships and leverage resources that will allow us to scale-up following phase one of the pilot program. Our long-term vision includes partnering with New Orleans school districts and the city in order to offer an effective, safe, and interconnected system to all youth, whilst reducing school transportation costs by 31%.











The pilot will answer these questions:

  1. Did participants spend additional hours engaged in community youth development services?
  2. Did participants reduce the amount of time they normally spend commuting to and from school, home, and community sites?
  3. Did increased access to transportation have other positive impacts on participants?
Pilot Program Timeline
  1. October-December 2015: Design pilot, secure all partners, raise $15,000 necessary for launch
  2. January-May 2016: Launch pilot, collect data, raise $150,000 and prepare for phase two scale-up
  3. June-August 2016: Analyze data, prepare & launch phase two scale-up

Our Partners

This project is made possible because of these community partners:

NOLA Go! In the News


NO City Business

Watch the 3-minute pitch on video here. To learn more, contact Alex Becker at