Did you know that school buses are the largest transit system in the nation?
As New Geography notes,
Each day, 480,000 yellow school buses travel the nation’s roads. Compare that to transit, with 140,000 total vehicles, 96,000 of which are buses; to the motorcoach industry, with 35,000 buses; to commercial airlines, with 7,400 airplanes; and to rail, with 1,200 passenger cars. In fact, our school bus fleet is 2.5 times the size of all other forms of mass transportation combined.
New York has the highest ridership, with almost 4 million children every school day. These four million children have parents, families, and guardians waiting for them to come home safely. School buses carry the most important cargo of all — our little humans.
This is precisely why New York City passed a law in 2019 requiring GPS devices on all their school buses. This law was passed to combat “missing buses, chronic delays, and poor routing”. After years of complaints, particularly from parents of special education students, the government couldn’t overlook the problem anymore.
What was the tipping point? In November 2018, Winter Storm Avery hit the city with massive early seasonal snowfall. The storm caused school buses to be stuck for hours, including one bus carrying special needs students. People drove for ages searching for their children, as direct contact with the buses was impossible until almost midnight. It was every parent’s nightmare. When transportation is a problem, not a solution, something needs to be done.
Unfortunately, this isn’t an exhaustive list of potential school transit problems. What if the driver drops your child off at the wrong stop? This 6 year Florida boy hitchhiked to his grandmother’s house after being left over 2 miles away.
Installing asset management GPS on school buses means never having to ask “Where is my child?”. Up-to-date, real-time location while driving to and from school means you’ll always know. If the bus breaks down or deviates from its designated route, you’ll know. GPS allows the school to set a geofence — virtual boundaries for a real-world geographic area. An alert is automatically issued when the school bus passes the geofence.
What about another crucial variable in school bus transit — the bus driver? GPS allows you to track the bus driver’s habits. With GPS accelerometer data, you’ll know where the driver is going, how fast they’re driving, how quickly they’re braking, and more. In Tennessee, when a bus driver killed 6 children by running off the road into a tree at 50 miles an hour. The school could have potentially prevented this accident with a GPS device, which would have notified dispatch the instant the driver exceeded the speed limit.
Another aspect of school transit GPS that can improve is performance accountability. Is the bus consistently late, as the New York City parents complained? Are certain stops or train crossings causing the tardiness? GPS historical data shows a pattern the administrator can study. When administrators have full visibility, they can be accountable to parents in real-time, and help dispatch become more timely and efficient.
Of course, vehicle maintenance is also a priority. How does a GPS device help? “With accurate mileage reporting, technicians properly upkeep maintenance schedules, thus reducing bus downtime and unforeseen breakdowns.” Asset management GPS devices communicate with the bus OBD (Onboard Device) that manages vehicle diagnostics. This allows for preventative maintenance, instead of costly breakdowns and emergencies that leave buses out of order.
When a district adds asset management GPS devices to their school vehicles, they’re improving their record-keeping and documentation. Accurate records and timekeeping help with office organization and budget streamlining. GPS systems allow for transparency, analysis, and accountability on several fronts. When the school system runs more smoothly, it benefits everyone – your child included.
And if you have older students taking Driver’s Education, the same GPS units can be just as effective. With GPS devices on student cars, historical data can help them understand and improve their behavior before they develop dangerous habits.
Regardless of the transportation your child uses, safety and security are paramount concerns. You want to feel confident that everything is being done to keep your loved ones protected.
LandAirSea is ready to help your school district’s transit system succeed in safety, accountability, and efficiency with our asset management GPS devices.