4 Signs You Need New School Bus Routing Software
published on July 23, 2013 by Sonia Mastros
Timing is everything when it comes to new investments. After all, there's no time like the present crisis to get approval for projects you've needed for months!
School bus routing software is an upgrade that makes sense for any school not currently using it. The cost of the software is generally offset almost instantly by the savings it offers, in terms of both time and money. Computers can create better vehicle routes than people can by hand, and in a fraction of the time.
So, as these challenges may come up, think of them instead as opportunities to really push for an upgrade that will ultimately pay for itself many times over!
Four Reasons It May Be Time For New School Bus Routing Software
I. Changing Maps Leave You Constantly Behind
One big problem with relying on software-based maps is that your maps are only as good as what the software has. This has been an issue with GPS units for years – you often have to pay for subscriptions to get updated maps, and even then, they generally only come out every few months. You shouldn't have to wait until next semester to get updated maps!
Look for school bus routing software that allows you to update your maps as changes happen. Modern map software allows you to update the maps yourself, using an interface similar to the standard Paint program on most computers. All you have to do is drag the road to create it, then fill in a couple basic attributes like its' speed limit.
You undoubtedly know about new roads within days (or hours) of their opening, so you need routing software that can keep up.
II. Transportation Costs Are Eating Up Your Budget
Schools are getting squeezed from every angle these days, and your transportation costs are a significant chunk of your budget. However, if you're using older software or still doing your maps by hand, you can find huge savings with better school bus routing software.
Every mile you can trim off your routes is money saved and generally, a newly-optimized route saves a lot of miles driven every day. You can route around areas with roads that wear down your tires more quickly, as well as encouraging your drivers to think in terms of fuel efficiency whenever driving.
Those savings can quickly add up to a huge new resource for a school that needs all the funds it can find.
III. Your School Needs Reports You Can't Produce
Reporting practices are becoming endlessly complex, especially under NCLB. You may not have time to compile all the information the state needs, but those are the numbers that guarantee your funding, especially in claiming reimbursements for vehicle expenses.
These same school bus routing software packages also compile virtually all the information you'll need to get your state reporting done quickly and accurately. That same data can be sifted through numerous other ways as well, through custom filtering and report generation.
IV. Redistricting Is Coming
Schools going through redistricting or another other major change to its organization is having to sort through a lot of information, in a hurry. Old-style route-making can't keep up with the needs of constantly changing plans for redistricting, not without becoming a bottleneck. School bus routing software can be a boon at these times, allowing for smooth integration of Transportation into the process.
The map tools can generate endless hypothetical attendance maps, as needed. These can be archived and referred back to as necessary, and come with quick calculations of estimated costs for the new routes. For districts concerned about meeting guidelines on representation, these software packages can ease the burden significantly.
No matter what challenges your school district faces in the future, routing software can help get you there more smoothly. Between the cost savings and the hours of labor avoided, it makes sense... when the timing is right.