15 Minutes or Better

A Field Guide to Everyday Transit

Detroit, MI Education

Partial Funding

This campaign collected all funds raised on {{createDate('Mon, 04 May 2015 05:00:00 +0000') | date:'MMM d, y h:mm a'}}.


15 Minutes or Better will be a series of short, fun and informative videos about public transit. The video series will answer a critical question facing Metro Detroiters: what makes transit effective? Ok, so what do we mean by effective? We're talking about the core features of transit. The things that make the difference between a great transit system and a harder-to-use transit system. In each video, we will spotlight one of these elements:


At a glance, this may all look like jargon. But, whether they use these terms or not, everyday people insist on these features to get on board with transit.

To show what effective everyday public transit looks like, we are hitting the road, traveling to cities across America to explain HOW and WHY these transit systems work. We will present effective transit through clear visuals and accessible language. We target people who are already aware of transit. The goal is to give them new tools to expand their knowledge – and be more effective advocates for the cause. 15 Minutes or Better will help frame expectations for meaningful transit improvements right here at home in Metro Detroit.


For many residents of Southeast Michigan, riding the bus or taking the train are unusual, unfamiliar activities. Inspiring Metro Detroiters to embrace public transit will be a big challenge.

Until now, issues of policy, politics, funding and failure have dominated the local discussion about transit. While they are important, these topics miss the heart of the matter: what a transit system must deliver for everyday people

The key is education. Instead of being told how transit can have a positive impact, Metro Detroiters need to see it. In 15 Minutes or Better, we will show exactly what transit does, how transit can fit into a daily lifestyle, and how it can be a convenience rather than an obstacle.

Our educational video series brings the building blocks of effective transit to life. No jargon. No lectures. Just easy-to-follow explanations of how transit does all of the following: 

  • Connects people to employment, education, retail, and entertainment
  • Enables seniors to live independent lives 
  • Empowers underserved communities 
  • Lessens our impact on the environment
  • Enhances lifestyle choices for all residents of all ages and backgrounds

The full series calls for $43,000 for seven video segments, focusing on the transit systems in Washington, DC, Houston, Cleveland, Portland, Kansas City, Seattle, and Los Angeles. We are aiming to raise $15,000 through crowdfunding to produce the first three segments. Of course, the more we raise, the more educational material we can develop and share. Awareness is essential. 


The struggles of Detroit's transit system are well-documented. We want to make sure that local transit efforts address the core of the matter. While policy and regional coordination are important components, we can't call it a win until we're improving the actual transit service. For our local audience, 15 Minutes or Better gives essential background on a complicated, widely misunderstood issue.

Once completed, 15 Minutes or Better will be screened at events throughout Southeast Michigan. We'll also make it available online for anyone to use, share and learn from.


Share 15 Minutes or Better posts on your Facebook or Twitter. This project is all about raising awareness of effective public transit, and spreading the word to your networks is a critical part of this effort.

Invite your neighbors, colleagues, friends, and family to "like" the 15 Minutes or Better page on Facebook, watch the trailer on Vimeo, and check out the project website.

Talk about the project with your friends. Engaging friends and neighbors about public transit is the purpose of 15 Minutes or Better. If you can start those conversations before the videos are released, even better!

Ask your organization to endorse 15 Minutes or Better. Are you involved with an organization whose mission aligns with ours? Talk to us! Let's find a way to work together.

Sign up to be a project volunteer. Time is money and we appreciate your help! If you feel inspired about the project, we’d love to have you aboard.

Watch our video series next year. Lend us your eyes and ears! Sit back, enjoy the finished work and spread the word about effective, usable, everyday transit!


Stephen M – Co-founder of Freshwater Transit. Community organizing and project management are Stephen's specialties. He has administered engaging projects while working in Minor League Baseball, for an Olympic Games campaign, as well as in the bicycle and transit industries. He lives in Southwest Detroit.

Trevor S – Trevor lends his keen eye to all kinds of video projects. His expertise in motion graphics and creative production can be seen in commercials, promotions, and now transit videos! Trevor is an avid Detroiter, an all-around family man, and a believer in the power of effective transit. 

Neil G – Neil has worn many hats in the transit biz, everything from bus driver to scheduler to information designer. He has used 97 different transit systems in the US and Canada (!), and he's eager to showcase transit's best features to Metro Detroit residents. 

Julie T – Julie supports research and marketing initiatives at Freshwater Transit, including this one! She is happy to be able to combine her love of Detroit with her knack for research in this position. Before coming to Freshwater, Julie worked in Boston as a program coordinator for a community development training institute. 

Angelina C – If you listen to WAYN Radio, you've heard Angelina's voice on interviews, features and music programs. Angelina is a multi-talented media producer, excited to take on new and challenging projects. She is from Detroit, and -- gasp! -- gets around exclusively on foot, bike and transit. 


Please Support the production of 15 Minutes or Better with a donation today – and tell your friends about us!

Many thanks, 

Stephen, Neil, Julie, Angelina, Trevor and the Freshwater Transit team

Campaign by:
Stephen M
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