School Bus Technology Trends to Watch
published on September 12, 2017 by Sonia Mastros
For trend-watchers, these are exciting times for school bus technology. Unlike many other fields where tech trends are pushed by frivolous consumer whims, technology for school buses is inherently practical.
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The top priorities for district transportation systems include lower costs, easier administration, and safer rides. These are the areas modern school bus technology tries to target.
Not every district can afford constant upgrades, even when many of the new technologies coming out can quickly pay for themselves. Here are some of the ideas you may be interested in following.
Five School Bus Tech Trends That Are Reshaping The Daily Ride
1. Alternative Fuels
One of the hottest trends right now is a move away from gasoline, which has very volatile (but usually high) prices and low levels of efficiency per gallon. Also, the simple fact that we're slowly draining our petroleum resources globally forces us to find alternatives. There are plenty of choices out there - electricity, propane, compressed natural gas (CNG), hydrogen fuel cells, and more are competing for attention. All can potentially offer better mileage and lower on-road costs in the right circumstances.
2. Timed Block Heating Mechanisms
For districts in cold areas, block heating can be a major issue. Constant heat is incredibly wasteful, but so is paying your drivers to get up an hour early to warm the block up manually. The solution? Smart timers hooked up to block heaters. These automatically start the engine warming well before your driver arrives, ensuring the bus is ready when they are. They can provide cost savings up to 80 percent, depending on your local weather.
3. In-Wheel Alcohol Detection
It's not pleasant to talk about, but it happens: drivers who show up for their drive intoxicated. Often, this type of impairment can be difficult to tell, particularly if they're experienced at hiding their drinking. However, new sensors can detect alcohol based on a driver's skin oils! Integrated into the steering wheel, they can very effectively prevent any unsafe driving by locking down the bus before it's on the road.
4. Video "Mirrors"
Large buses unavoidably have large blind spots, particularly along the sides. New solutions mount four cameras on the bus, each pointing a different direction, to create a 360-degree view for the bus driver to choose from. Smart systems can even automatically adjust the view, like switching to rear-view the moment the bus goes into reverse.
5. GPS Route Optimization
In-bus GPS systems can help optimize almost every aspect of your fleet. From monitoring gas mileage to helping compile more-accurate maps for creating routes, a series of GPS units linked to a central routing software suite can seriously improve efficiency across an entire school district. Plus, you get other benefits, such as being able to instantly locate any bus at any time.
If you would like to learn more about how technology is helping school districts across the country, contact the transportation specialists at BusBoss. We'd be glad to discuss your needs and provide you with a software demonstration.
What technology is your district interested in? Tell us in the comments below!