3 Tips To Properly Using Route Software
published on August 08, 2013 by Sonia Mastros
route software, route planning software, school bus routing software
According to a great deal of the schools we deal with, one of their most pressing reasons for switching to route software is to enjoy the cost-savings. Modern bus routing software can be leveraged to bring savings to virtually any district, and with reports of some districts saving millions of dollars a year.
However, you can only enjoy these benefits if you're making the most of your new software. Despite modern software packages being easy-to-use, there are still a lot of features and tools to try out. It's normal for an administrator to take awhile getting used to the power of their new system.
Here are a few tips to help speed the process!
1 – Frequently Re-Optimize Your Maps
One of the hardest things for new districts to get used to with route software is also one of the most basic: just how easy it is to generate new maps. There's very little reason not to re-optimize whenever anything changes, just to make sure you aren't passing up cost-saving opportunities.
Sure, if you're in a rush, a hand patch will do for a day or two when a new student arrives unexpectedly. But once they're in the system, have your route software re-check the route and make sure there isn't a better option.
Similarly, keep the maps themselves up-to-date as well. If you have a subscription service, ensure it doesn't lapse. Otherwise, if your route software supports editable local maps, definitely add new roads as soon as they're available for use. You never know what cost savings they may open up!
2 – Make Use Of The Features That Best Accommodate Your Students
Another big advantage to bus routing software is that it makes it much easier to accommodate special situations and needs among your students. For example, if a student's parents got divorced and suddenly they had different home stops on different days, it would previously be a hassle to schedule them properly.
No matter what unusual scheduling a student has, the software can quickly adjust for it and create updated routes to match.
Similarly, remember that you can mark off danger zones on the map as well. Towns often have areas with known drug labs, gang presence, or sex offenders that buses should avoid. Take these into account before finalizing your routes.
It's also simple to adjust walking distances. If you worry students are having to walk too far to their bus stops – a fair concern in some neighborhoods – it's quick and easy to adjust, globally, the maximum distance a student would ever have to walk.
3 – Consider GPS Tracking For More Benefits
Just having route software to manage and update your routes is useful for districts, but the real benefits of route software come from combining it with GPS tracking.
GPS bus tracking uses established satellite navigation technology and links it to your established mapping software. What it gives you is the ability to see, in real-time, where all your buses are at any moment. It's plotted live on your computer, accurate within a few minutes.
This opens up a new variety of options for a cost-conscious school district:
Factoring gas\mileage\wear into their map-making to compensate for problem areas on the road.
Encouraging better and more Eco-conscious strategies among your drivers.
Virtual elimination of casual law-breaking among drivers which create needless potential liabilities, such as lazy stops or even moderate speeding.
Giving worried parents exact status updates and ETAs should a bus be delayed.
Faster emergency response in case of breakdown or accident.
It takes a little while to get settled into new bus route software, but the payoff is worth it. Keep exploring your new purchase, read the help materials and online forums, and find new ways to make it save money for your school!
image 1: http://busboss.com/busboss_ibusboss.asp