Tag Archives: School Bus Evolution

Common Guidelines for the Location and Design of School Bus Stops

Millions of school children travel to and from schools on a daily basis in school buses during a school year. The safety of students is a matter of high concern for both school authorities and parents.

This post provides some information on the common guidelines related to the location and design of stops for buses run by various schools.

Guidelines for Deciding the Location of School Bus Stops

The first step is definitely deciding the routes for the school bus. Once the routes have been finalized, the next step is to decide the location of each school bus stop along these routes, taking into consideration the various aspects that have been listed below:

  • Special guidelines required for  kindergarten  children like picking them up from their door-steps
  • Choosing the location of school bus stops on the key arterial roads of the city or town
  • Transportation in danger zones marked as "no transport zone"
  • Locating stops in dead-end streets
  • Locating stops at places midway between residential blocks or at corners
  • Closeness to railroad crossings
  • Adequate visibility

There is an intimate link between school bus routes and stops. This is because the characteristics of one impact the other.

For example, a route may have a busy road segment and a stop may have to be necessarily located in this segment. Students waiting at bus stop will definitely have to deal with the heavy traffic on the segment.

Keeping in mind the street-side things like the condition of the road from where the students board and alight school bus and ensuring a safe environment for children, consider the following aspects whenever possible.

  • Route school buses through roads with lower traffic speeds and volumes
  • Avoid roads with multiple lanes where the risk of injury for pedestrians is very high
  • Select roads that have sidewalks/designated pedestrian walkways which are different from the roadway/traffic; if this is not possible select roads with adequate space so that children can walk along the roadway and reach the stop
  • Avoid/limit the stops that necessitate the school buses to make a left/right turn along the route depending on whether right hand or left-hand driving is practiced
  • Avoid stops that necessitate backing up; if backing up cannot be avoided, make sure that the students are picked up before backing and during the return trip the children should be dropped off only after backing up so that the bus can be driven in the forward direction
  • Avoid railroad crossings as much as possible; if it is not possible to do that ensure the presence of signage and crossing arm protection
  • Select stops that have a high level of visibility for both drivers and pedestrians; the sight distance should be sufficient for both the students waiting at the stop and bus drivers

When it comes to the sight distance, some of the factors that have an impact are:

  • Sunrise/sunset times – It is better to avoid locating stops in such a way that the buses are forced to face into the sun at pick-up/drop-off times
  • Curves
  • Trees and vegetation

Guidelines for Designing School Bus Stops

When designing school bus stops some of the key aspects to be kept in mind are as follows:

  • Opt for the safest areas where students can wait for and get into and off of the school bus
  • Choose “near-side” stops as much as possible
  • Design should minimize the need for crossing the road to board or after alighting from the bus; as much as possible the need to cross multi-lane roads must be minimized
  • Ensure adequate lighting is available; if children have to wait during hours when the light is low, the school bus stop must be close to a street light/ other light sources as much as possible
  • Ensure adequate waiting space for both students and parents; the waiting place must be at least 12 feet away from the bus but the bus class and sight distance should be kept in mind
  • Consider the environment around the school bus stop; parks and commercial businesses both have their own benefits and drawbacks; they may confer safety as drivers might expect the presence of pedestrians in the areas but they can distract children
  • Design school bus stops in such a way that the children remain protected from vagaries of nature weather

On the basis of the geographical region, some of the aspects to be kept in mind are:

  • Design stops in such a way that shade is available without sacrificing visibility
  • Avoid areas that will reduce the visibility/access because of changes in weather conditions
  • Avoid snow drift areas that reduce the visibility of the bus or access to the school bus
  • Take into consideration the number of children that have to be picked up from a school bus stop; the presence of many students might confer safety, but it can increase the chances of behavioural problems

The common guidelines outlined in this post are focused on preventing traffic-related injuries to students using the school bus to travel to and from their schools. Students, just like all other community members, face risks of assault and other crimes.

Many of the other non-traffic issues addressed by transportation policies such as proximity to bars, liquor stores, and adult entertainment, among others are not dealt with in this post.

However, following the guidelines when designing and locating school bus stops can greatly improve the safety and security of school children.

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How Electric School Buses Can Save Millions for School Districts

Thanks to modern technology fueled by advancements in batteries, electric school buses have transformed into new-age school transportation options.

Poised to offer a plethora of advantages to all the school districts patronizing electric school buses, this blog sheds light on the monetary benefits by comparing the costs with their benefits.

Enlisting all the ways in which electric school buses can pave the way for long-term cost savings amounting to millions of dollars, here is a detailed cost-benefit analysis concerning these modernized means of school transportation.

  1. It Is All About The Charging Advantage

An electric school bus demands an initial investment of about $225,000. Notwithstanding the fact that this is indeed a huge amount that school districts have to make room for, they can, at the same time avail the advantage of charging these buses during nights.

Since the demand for electricity is low during nighttimes, school districts can potentially save a lot of money under the heads of maintenance and operational costs amounting to $12,000 for every electric school bus. Consider this saving for an entire fleet and the amount will reach millions of dollars.

  1. Software Solutions Can Come As Money-Saving Options

As most of the school districts normally battle with tight budgets, they were on the lookout for alternative means to save monies. This led to the use of state-of-the-art software solutions that could suggest the best possible school bus routes.

While helping school districts to come up with optimized school trips, electric school buses also prompted certain schools to tread the 4-day week instead of a 5-day week to bring down both utility and transportation costs.

The previous versions of electric school buses are also delivering cost-effectiveness coming from the implementation of traditional technologies. It is through this feature that local governments which are facing a tight cash crunch can register potential savings running into huge sums.

  1. Unleash the Power of Alternative Sources of Energy To Fund Other Requirements

School districts which are currently patronizing electric school buses are poised to employ alternative sources of energy that comes in the form of solar panels.

Through these cost-effective and environmental-friendly options, school districts can register some additional savings. These savings can thus be rerouted as investments into school repair funds, paying the salaries of teachers or even to upgrade schooling technologies.

  1. Vehicle-To-Grid Can Earn You Monetary Incentives

The cost-effectiveness of electric school buses comes to the fore when they are allowed to discharge their unused battery power into the electrical grid.

Tagged as the Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology, this is a novel option that can be availed by school districts. When electric school buses of school districts are permitted to empty their unused battery power into the electricity grid, they will get paid for such a service which run into millions of dollars.

  1. The Cost-Benefit Analysis of Electric and Diesel-Powered School Buses

You need to invest $110,000 in a diesel school bus while an electric school bus supporting the V2G technology comes with a $260,000 price tag. This price is inclusive of the 70 kW on-board charger that the electric school bus is meant to use.

When you add up all the costs that you need to incur to manage a fleet of diesel buses including the cost of diesel, you will notice that diesel buses are far more expensive when compared to electric buses.

School districts while battling the poisonous emissions of diesel buses are also expected to spend on medical facilities for the society.

On the flipside, all those electric buses supporting the V2G technology will have to meet the battery charging expenditure along with the initial investment.

And this one-time investment will eventually pave the way for profits coming from non-emission means of school transportation.

A report suggests that Chicago, one of the largest cities of US is tapping the low fuel and operational costs of electric school buses  to save a whopping $25,000 as annual fuel costs per bus.

Supporting the fact that electric school buses will start adding savings faster, a declaration coming from The American School Bus Council cites that a whopping $3.2 billion per annum is spent on diesel.

And with the replacement of diesel school buses with 1,000 electric buses, the US will register profits by not paying for 500 barrels of diesel every single day.

  1. The Metrics of Per-Seat Savings of Electric School Buses

Numbers suggests that an electric bus through its V2G technology will be able to save $6,070 per bus seat. Multiply these savings with the 14-year lifespan of an electric bus and you will arrive at a colossal amount of $230,000.

This is for one single electric bus and the number will exponentially increase once you consider a fleet of electric school buses. If you are speaking about the dollars that need to be spent on climatic changes and medical expenses, every electric school bus seat could lead to a savings of $5,700.

  1. The Future Is Bright for The Patronage of Electric School Buses

It is an important pointer to note that the total cost of maintaining a fleet of electric school buses for their entire lifespan is very less when compared to the diesel-powered school buses.

This positive, when teamed with the fall in battery costs, is all set to promote the sale of electric buses without any subsidy. This will lead to the scenario when an electric bus will become an economical means of school transportation when compared to diesel school buses by the mid-2020.

Research indicates that by 2030, batteries will account for a meager 8% of the total cost of an electric school bus which can be easily bought at an unsubsidized price.

And if battery costs fall further, the cost of acquiring an electric school bus will be on par with that of a diesel-powered school bus, by 2025. That means you can now have the cake and eat it too. An electric school bus which is environment-friendly is also made affordable to school districts.

  1. The Basic Engineering of an Electric School Bus Can Also Lead to Savings

Electric school bus parts are limited in number when compared to the numerous components that are fitted to a diesel-powered school bus. That means, for an electric bus to be set into motion, there will be fewer moving parts which need to be maintained and overhauled.

This limited number of parts which make up an electric school bus can become another strong reason for cost savings to school districts if you consider their maintenance costs with every passing academic year.

  1. Schools Can Capitalize on Federal Funding Schemes

You also need to keep in mind that most of the local transit authorities in the US are funded by schemes run by the federal government. In this situation, most of the school bus purchasers began scouting for external funds that could support their transportation costs.

That was when electric school buses came in as the low-cost alternatives for schools to benefit from federal funding. In the event that federal funding is stalled, school districts patronizing electric school buses stand to gain with the quick and steep drop in battery prices.

Conclusion

With so much being spoken about the advantages of electric school buses as an environment-friendly and cost-effective option, the above pointers bring about the affordability of these non-emission school buses.

School districts who operate with a sense of farsightedness can be at the receiving end of a number of monetary benefits that these electric school buses offer.

So it is time for schools in different parts of the globe to tread the path of cost-effectiveness and health-consciousness. And once these two objectives are met, you will be in a position to promote the growth of a healthy and tech-savvy society.

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School Bus Evolution: From Horse Wagons to Yellow Buses(Infographics)

 

If you want your child to have a safe and comfortable school transportation, school bus is the best solution. Every morning, there are millions of students getting ready for school. You can see excitement on their tiny faces. But at the same time, you can see the anxious faces of parents as well.

From the early days, student transportation safety has remained a top priority. There have been a wide variety of school bus designs and structures for ensuring better safety. These buses have undergone massive transformation over the years. Today, you will be able to see lots of school buses with latest technologies installed. And you may wonder why parents are worrying even though they send their child via this school bus with lots of security measures in it. 

But have you thought how school buses has evolved from being drawn by horses to super safe modern buses?

Let us look at the school bus evolution history.

School Bus Evolution: From Horse Wagons to Yellow Buses(Infographics)

 

 

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