Slow Traffic Areas For School Buses & How to Deal With Them
published on February 05, 2014 by Sonia Mastros
In many cities across the United States, morning and evening rush hour can be frustrating and a difficult undertaking. This issue is no different for school buses as they hit the same local traffic as other motorists. Through the use of modern technology that many drivers use on a daily basis, there is an efficient solution for slow traffic areas for school buses: school bus routing software with integrated GPS tracking. Essentially, it is software that automatically finds the best routes for your buses based on current local traffic conditions.
There are many advantages to implementing this software into you school district including;
School bus routing software provides a number of features that can help optimize routes and thus improve performance, while taking into account speeds based on time of day. Speeds are reduced dramatically when roads are congested. Routes are then optimized to avoid these roads if other roads can be used without spending more money. Automatic creation of hypothetical bus routes are also based on stop locations, school assignments, morning and afternoon bell times, the maximum bus capacity and total ride time per student. The criteria can be selected and the software will produce the most efficient routes. Additionally, if a route needs to be activated, manual adjustments can be made as required.
In addition to the aforementioned factors that optimize routes, the software also considers current travel and turn restrictions, weather, road hazards, one-way streets and any roadblocks that may have appeared. The software essentially reduces road travel where inefficiencies may exist thus arriving at its destination in the safest and most efficient manner possible.
The most important benefit is the safety of the children. By creating stops and routing buses through less congested areas, there is a lower probability of a bus accident or a child running into the road to cross the street. This is especially critical on days with poor weather conditions as the probability of an accident is much higher.
Another advantage is the cost savings that will incur. Instead of your buses idling in traffic for hours, wasting costly fuel; when the software assigns the most efficient routes, gas usage will decrease by avoiding traffic.
All routes can be color-coordinated for easy identification and can be displayed by the bus number, current driver, and the purpose of the route or the destination school. Once you see overlapping routes on the display, it is simple to select the optimal route and improve efficiency of each bus.
Furthermore, you have the ability to visualize the various routes that intersect with, or travel along a specified road. This will help you determine where to combine stops or place new stops along those routes to maximize the number of pickups for that neighborhood.
Robust routing software can automatically locate each bus stop based on the centralized intersection. If required, you have the ability to manually change the location. These created stops can be used to service many schools thus eliminating the requirement for creating duplicate stops. Additionally, the software allows you to develop door-to-door stops by creating a house stop, assigned to a specific student, and a single destination.
Last but not least, is the ability to automatically assign students to transfer buses. The software allows you to create unlimited transfer routes for those specified students. Parents can also be notified by using postcards, routing letters or even emails which list the morning and evening transfer routes.
Technology has greatly advanced over the past decade. It has allowed for a safer, more efficient schooling environment for children, faculty and staff. This software does exactly that: provides complete route optimization, improves overall safety for those traveling on the bus, provides a significant cost savings to the district, easy identification of bus routes, automatically determines centralized bus locations and informs parents of their child’s transfers. Due to the many benefits of this software, there will likely be an increase in implementation over the coming years.