3 Reasons To Use Route Software
published on May 21, 2013 by Sonia Mastros
route software, route planning software, school bus routing software
Depending on how long you've been working in schools, you might remember the “good” old days when bus route planning was done by hand. The transportation coordinator stayed up late at night using pushpins and string on a map to try to create bus routes. And, sure, it worked... but it was hardly the most efficient way of planning routes.
Today, all of that tedious work can be done in seconds by a computer running route software. Computers have the power to compare thousands of potential routes in a very short time, looking for optimal routes. Even better, you can specify criteria -such as the maximum walking distance any student would have to make to the bus stop or the maximum student riding time on the bus - and the route software can work around it.
The list of ways that using routing software is superior to doing it by hand is long, but here are our top three picks!
Three Reasons Route Software Makes Your Transportation Better
I. Save Money
While it seems a bit mercenary to focus on financial issues, well, most schools are looking to save money wherever they can these days. Few districts can say they have more money to spend today than they did five years ago. Routing software translates to pure cost savings in numerous ways:
Optimal routes use less gas, as fuel continues to grow more expensive.
Maintenance costs are reduced as well, the less time each bus stays on the road.
Depending on your current routing, cutting entire vehicles may be possible.
Greatly reduce the man-hours needed to create and revise routes.
Having an all-in-one piece of planning software reduces overhead and streamlines operations.
All other considerations aside, routing software can quickly pay for itself just through sheer savings. However, that's not all.
II. Plan For The Future
Because bus route software is so easy to use, it's possible to create endless “what if” routes and to plan for future scenarios. Is your district considering opening a new school? You can be prepared with all the information needed on how that will impact your bus routes, such as how many new vehicles (if any) will be needed.
It's also a real boon if a redistricting is on the horizon. It's simple to change the schools within the system and quickly produce new route maps, to see how they'll look. When combined with its power to collate student demographic data, you may find yourself becoming a valued part of the redistricting team.
III. Protect Your Students
Of course, we can never forget how important student safety is in any vehicle operations. Just for starters, shorter bus routes keep students on the road for less time, and that automatically helps make for a safer bus system.
Additionally, routes can be laid out according to considerations aimed specifically at keeping students as safe as possible. Besides being able to minimize walk times, as we mentioned above, it's also possible to designate “danger zones” where buses should not stop, or potentially even avoid all together. If there's gang activity in your town, or a registered sex offender, this ensures your students stay out of harm's way.
Make Your Bus Routes Better
This one's pretty easy to see: shorter, optimized routes are better for your school district all around. At least, it would certainly be hard to argue in favor of unoptimized routing! If a single affordable piece of software, which can run on any Windows PC, can do all this, do you really have much reason not to give it a shot?
Give our free demo a try, and if you like what you see, let us know what route software can do to help you make better bus routes!