The ultimate aim of a school transportation system is to ensure that the students come to school and get back to home in a safe manner. Technology has always helped human beings solve many of their problems since the personal computer revolution in the 1980s.
Advances in the field of wireless communication have also contributed a great deal towards developing solutions to vexing problems. Now, the software may not be able to solve all the problems, but it can definitely help schools in alleviating school bus routing challenges.
Schools can add school bus routing software module to reap a lot of benefits. Here are some of them:
1. Cost Savings
Modern school bus routing software allows schools to save a significant amount of money across various aspects related to their bus operations. They include the following:
- A substantial reduction in route sizes, theoretically to the extent of being in a position to cut an entire vehicle depending on the situation.
- A great deal of savings in fuel costs across all of the school’s vehicles.
- A shorter route contributes to reducing the wear and tear of the vehicles and extends their lifespan.
- The collection and analysis of data at a central point enable school authorities to track and spot trends easily. This, in turn, allows them to sort out small issues such as reduced fuel efficiency. The warning signals help them to tackle the problems and devise solutions before they turn into difficult-to-handle headaches.
- The driver tracking capability of the software allows schools authorities to easily identify the best and most cost-conscious drivers.
Another area in which the school bus routing software could make significant contributions is future planning. The integration of school bus routes into the redistricting process was generally being done as an afterthought because of the difficulty in quickly implementing large-scale changes.
Now, the availability of the school bus routing software makes it easier for the schools to manage their transportation changes up front along with the redistricting plan.
Schools can generate number of hypothetical route maps with the help of the software and identify the best routes, in line with redistricting plans, and make optimum routing recommendations in a timely manner to achieve great cost benefits.
The software helps to map the impact of changes in routes and clearly work out the costs involved. This helps the schools to choose the best routes that provide the desired cost benefits.
Similarly, the bus routing software also helps to ease the process of school closings. It has the potential to quickly redistribute the load across the remaining schools and thereby keep the costs incurred at the lowest possible levels.
3. Map Generation
It is not an easy task to draw a school bus route map by hand. Schools and districts that are not moving in tandem with technological change would have to make the concerned staff members to spend a great deal of time during their summer holidays moving strings and pushpins across maps in order to decide the best routes for the upcoming school year.
Moreover, the routes have to be changed during the midst of a semester due to the student movement.
The school bus routing software provides solutions in a matter of minutes, saving authorities months of manual work. All that the authorities have to do is feed database with the addresses of students and their needs and other required information.
The bus routing software will analyze several millions of possible routes within minutes and plot out the most optimum routes. The software can perform this analysis number of times and create hypothetical maps or optimize routes based on the school’s requirements or priorities.
4. Substitute Drivers
The requirement of substitute driver is dependent on the availability of the number of regular drivers. This is because drivers fall sick, go on a vacation, and have to deal with personal issues.
The school bus software’s optimization feature enables authorities to quickly find a substitute driver when one of the regular drivers is absent due to any of the reasons mentioned above. In this situation, the aspects to be considered are whether the driver has a license, knowledge of the routes, and experience in driving in those routes.
5. School Calendars
Timings, sessions, and holidays vary from one school to another. For example, the timings of public and private schools are not the same.
School bus routing software integrated with school calendars will be of great help in determining the best routes for specific days when only the public or schools is closed or working.
Some advantages of using the routing software in this respect would be as follows:
- Identifies alternative routes depending on whether the private or public schools are working or closed.
- Drivers will be informed of the routes well in advance.
- Alerts can be sent to students and their parents to notify the changes instantaneously.
6. Real-time Weather Alerts
When changes in weather conditions causes damages to roads and make travelling on those roads risky, the software determines alternate routes so that students can be transported safely to and from the school.
The best part is that the software allows alerts regarding a change in route to be sent in real time, making things easy for students and their parents.
7. Driver License
School bus drivers are expected to keep their licenses valid all the time. The school bus routing software provides alerts when renewal is due for each driver as applicable. This enables authorities to avoid issues related to non-availability of drivers because of the expiry of their license validity.
Further, the software also enables driver background checks including criminal activities and child abuse, among others. Finally, the software can also be employed for implementing preventive and scheduled bus maintenance procedures so that it is possible to ensure that the buses are in good running condition.
This is not an exhaustive list of advantages that school bus routing software can provide. There are many other indirect benefits as well.
All said and done, the routing software is an invaluable tool for district and school administration authorities as it enables to improve operational efficiency and send customized alerts to students, and more importantly to parents so that they can safely and confidently go to and come back from their schools.