School bus routing is an uphill task for all schools. Scheduling and planning of bus routes is the most important factor in increasing the efficiency of the school transportation system.
Proper routing of buses reduces operational costs of the bus fleet, fuel costs, driver expenses. Over and above it makes the job of the school administrator easier.
During the past years, bus routes have been decided and charted out manually by the school transport officers. With the increase of students and the corresponding increase of buses and the numerous pick-up locations, this task had become cumbersome.
Technological innovations and inventions have made the process of bus routing simpler for everyone concerned.
School Bus Routing Software
EdsysPvt Ltd, an education software developer, launched software solutions for schools, transport providers and school districts. These software solutions have been developed for different applications with characteristics unique to each.
The TrackSchoolBus software was basically developed as a bus routing application. With developments in technology, this software was upgraded to include features to increase the efficiency of the school transport system. This is a look into the 5-year progress of the software.
TrackSchoolBus software was launched by EdysPvt Ltd. in 2014 as an application for tracking school buses. Version 1 was an independent app and was one of a kind for schools during its introduction. The software was widely accepted in the Middle East and South East Asia.
The software was designed to track buses and students in real-time. This proved to be of great help to transport managers and school personnel.
Data was collected automatically and routes were created by the software system.They could view the progress of the buses along the routes, real-time location of students and buses on a computer screen.
An upgraded version of the application was introduced as Version 2.0 in 2015. This application was developed with additional features benefitting parents and schools.
The new system with an RFID card reader was integrated with the GPS tracker. The RFID card reader was a boon to the school bus drivers, parents and school authorities.
The student attendance can be recorded automatically by the RFID card reader as each child boarded the bus.
The school administration was benefitted as they could get the details of the students travelling on each route on a daily basis without the tiresome procedure of manual counting.
Parents were benefitted the most as they could get instant alerts on their mobile phones when their child gets on and off the bus.This app helped reduce the anxiety of the parents as they were able to track the whereabouts of their child in real-time.
The application gained wider acceptance in the Middle East and South East Asia.
In 2016, TrackSchoolBus Version 3.0 was released with a multitude of additional features. The major feature was the availability of data for the different users on the web and all mobile phone apps. The customer base expanded to other countries across the globe including South Africa.
Version 3.0 was developed as a comprehensive solution to the various problems encountered in the school transportation systems. It was designed based on knowledge gained from actual experiences of users.
The software supports multiple user profiles such as parents, school authorities, teachers and transport managers. Additional features were added to the parent and school apps. The access to details by teachers and bus attendants was newly introduced.
The parent app allowed parents to apply for leave without actually contacting the school. A message sent on the app is communicated to all departments concerned – drivers and attendants, teachers, school administration. This app allows them to communicate with the school management and drivers whenever necessary.
The most helpful aspect of the teacher app is the daily attendance marking. Teachers can track the students who travel by each bus. They receive notifications when the student arrives in school. Teachers can mark attendance for each period. The attendance history for a day or a period can be retrieved with ease.
Drivers can view the assigned routes, the number of trips in a day/shift, pick up and drop off points, time schedules. They do not have to remember the details. A trip is marked completed only when all students have alighted from the bus. Quick changing of routes and pick-up points is possible with the driver console app.
It also enables the bus nannies/attendants to access student attendance through a separate app. The manifest feature provides them with daily routes and student details. This app helps to locate the pick- up or drop off point.
The contact detail of the student along with the image of the student appears on the app. They receive alerts when the child gets on and off the bus. They are notified when students are absent so that the route can be revised. Pick up points can also be updated on any change required.
The TrackSchoolBus version 3.5 was released in 2017. This version saw added features which aided School transport providers. Command-centre was introduced as an add-on.
Artificial intelligence was incorporated into the system. Changing route with a simple swipe was included as a feature in route optimization.Alerts can be set up for different aspects of student safety.
The software found new markets in Africa, Australia, South East Asia and the Middle East. Franchisees were appointed in many places like Dubai and Netherlands.
This upgraded version was designed with school transport providers in mind. It collects data of students and pick up points automatically and sets routes.
The software can be used to deploy drivers and attendants on specific routes. The unique feature of nanny management enables in assigning trips, recording attendance etc. Duty roster feature helps in dividing tasks among the fleet members.
The trip management feature enables transport providers to assign vehicles to trip routes, monitor vehicles in real-time. Auto-routing and auto-optimization features help in saving fuel and reduce vehicle expenses.
The feature of parking management allows the tracking of a vehicle when it is parked. Parking slots can be assigned automatically.
This software provides free Wi-Fi to students on board the buses and unique cards for students, drivers, attendants and vehicles.
The application can be used by accounts departments for direct bus fare collection. The software can create an invoice and payment can be made from anywhere at all times. Payments will be secure and the process saves time.
The unique command-centre feature gives a comprehensive view of all planning and operational data. A centralized system gathers information, processes and analyses each function.
Details of vehicle maintenance requirements, expenses and inspection dates can be obtained. This saves time for school transport provider and allows him to concentrate on other areas of importance.
Version 4.0 of the TrackSchoolBus was launched in 2018. Integrating Artificial Intelligence into the application it featured as the best school bus routing software. The additional features in this app catered to School Districts and School Transport Providers.
This App was designed forSchool Transport Managers to manage the fleet with ease and efficiency. Vehicle safety and maintenance alerts, push notifications in cases of emergencies, planning of transportation budget are features incorporated in addition to bus tracking and trip scheduling.
The transport department is alerted when any vehicle cannot be tracked. This helps in immediate identification of the reason-mechanical failure, accidents, traffic blocks- and deployment of another bus to take over the route so that least inconvenience is caused.
The fleet management app helps to keep track of the drivers,bus attendants, routes, trips, time schedules. It takes care of the fleet maintenance – recording fuel consumption, programming vehicle maintenance schedules etc. The optimization of routes brings about a reduction in maintenance costs, thus increasing productivity and efficiency.
The school district transport software simplifies the management of a large number of buses from different transport providers. This app is compatible with all types of vehicles- school van, mini-bus or a full-size bus.
This software analyses the performance of drivers which helps in rating and motivating them to enhance their performance.
Parent concerns, bus breakdowns, student missing etc. are notified to the concerned users enabling action to be taken immediately. Accountability for each user is well-defined.
Safe and secure bus fare collection is simplified by integrating with online payment.
This app ensures higher efficiency attained through optimized operations. The reduction in manual resources increases the return on investment.
In 2019, TrackSchoolBus’s enhanced version 5.0 was introduced for better efficiency and productivity.
Devices like CalAmp and Streamax, Dahua was integrated into this updated system.
In new version, we have different dashboards for students, trips, vehicles, alerts and All-in-One Dashboard for the transport manager.
Users can search and view the status of the vehicle in the map, can view the live status of Shuttle Trips which includes trip progress, seat availability and currently seating student count along with attendance details.
We have categorized the general setting menu for the convenient use and added a few more setting options for the user in the new version.
Users can create new user roles based on requirements and control access for the user profiles.
Schools can mark the school premises using school geo-fence.
Additional features in setting like integrating settings were added, so the school authorities can integrate SMS gateway, Payment Gateway, Cashless system, etc by themselves.
The school can create five types of trips as scheduled, instant, shuttle, excursion, stay back trips. In the earlier version, these are managed separately, now all can manage in a single point
Auto data collection method was enhanced.
Access Rights Management was introduced in which the school can create user roles like receptionist or any other supporting staff to control system access.
The system can automatically calculate the bus fare based on the geo-fence and payment period. The school can also have the provision to enter the bus fare charges per single trip as well.
The new version also allows the school authorities to set the “Night Parking Time” where the system will check the current location of all the vehicles at that time and report to the transport manager.
The new version allows the schools to purchase features and enable as per their requirement. Since all the schools doesn’t want to use all the features, the schools have the freedom to select the features and add-ons as per their need.
The parents can decide what notifications need to be received in a push notification, email, SMS(if the school enables SMS option).
The main advantage of the updated version is that it focused on self-learning thus reducing dependency on us.
We provide a download section for all supporting documents like User guides for each module (including School, transport, manager, parents, driver, etc) and hardware documents, configuration tools, etc.
Each module with supporting documents is readily available in the system to be downloaded.
The TrackSchoolBus is an outstanding school bus routing software. The features of auto-route optimization and auto-allocation make it the best school bus route planner. The added features of fee collection, fleet management, and multi-user access make it the most widely used bus routing software world-wide.