How To Track Your Child’s School Bus Location in Real Time And How It Helps?
All safety-conscious parents lookout for a solution that can track their child’s school bus location in real time, and that’s where a School Bus GPS Tracking System comes in.
A real-time bus tracking system provides you the live GPS location of the school bus and tells you whether your child has boarded or de-boarded the bus or not, and at what time.
All this information can be accessed by parents from anywhere, be it their home or workplace.
That’s the whole beauty of a real-time tracking system!
How It Works
Connects All Stakeholders: A real-time school bus tracking system is a customized geolocation software that completely connects the school authorities, the school transport system, and the parents/guardians, enabling them to locate the school buses and kids at any given point of time en route to school or home, or during school trips or excursions.
A Mobile App for Parents, that quickly downloads and works on all Android and iOS systems including computers, tablets, and smartphones, allows parents to determine the exact location of their child and the bus in real time. A customizable map allows parents to see where the bus is and its estimated time of arrival.
Multiple Automated Features: The application is uniquely engineered with multiple automated features that can be customized and personalized, so notifications can be sent to let everyone know when the bus is close to a destination. It also records the location of the school bus at specified intervals.
Being an Integrated Solution, it allows the sharing of important information between the school and the parents and consolidating all the information in one single platform.
How It Helps
The real-time feature of a tracking system gives parents more comfort and peace of mind in ensuring safety and security of their child while being transported to and from the school.
Let’s look at all the benefits that a school bus tracking app has to offer to parents:
No More Waiting!
With parents having a tight schedule in daily routine, they cannot afford to waste time waiting at the bus stop to drop or receive their children.
A real-time GPS school bus tracking system provides the exact location of the bus which helps parents to fix the time to drop and receive their child at the bus stop, thereby saving their precious time.
The automatic routing, planning, and scheduling of bus stops help to save time, so no more long waits!
Children no longer have to wait at the bus stop standing in the hot sun or freezing temperatures or pouring rain.
Complete Safety and Security of Kids:
Transportation safety is the primary concern of parents.
The Best school bus tracking system allows school administrators to keep a tab on driver’s speed limits and provides an option to contact your drivers on duty. This gives peace of mind to parents in ensuring the safety and security of their kids.
Urgent Notifications, Alerts, and Reports:
Critical information about bus delays, bus breakdown, route deviations, unscheduled bus stops or an emergency situation is quickly made available to the parents through urgent SMS alerts and notifications.
Parents can access and analyze school bus routing data (historical and real-time) from multiple reports whenever they need.
No More Calls!
With a tracking system in place, parents no longer need to call the school to check on the status of the school bus.
Every parent gets real-time updates on the latest location of the school bus.
This is particularly helpful during school trips and excursions. This provides service and convenience to parents like never before!
No More Missed Buses!
The system allows parents to drop their child at the next bus stop, just in case they miss the bus
School Bus Attendance Record:
The mobile app helps parents to view complete and precise school bus attendance record of their children at any time from anywhere without having to contact the school authorities.
Privacy of Child/Parent Data:
The system runs on a completely secure platform that ensures 100% privacy of all child data and parent contact information at all times.
All data is securely stored and managed through the Central Management System (CMS) by school administrators, thereby protecting it from any access or misuse by unauthorized persons.
A parent is unable to access other children’s data. Access to only their own child is enabled through a unique Parent User password used on the parent App.
Parents can themselves monitor any bus delays or route deviations and plan their own time accordingly.
This avoids any unnecessary frustration for the parents and interference with their day jobs.
Parents can make alternate pick-up arrangements for their children in case they are unable to coincide their arrival with delayed bus arrival times.
This ensures that children are not left unattended after being dropped off at the bus stop.
Through their mobile app, parents can submit requests for a change in route or time of transport service for their children.
With a robust bus tracking system like Fleetroot, parents can stop worrying if their child has made it to school or home safely or not on any single day. Get a Free Demo now!
How A School Bus Management Software Helps Schools Manage Transport Operations More Efficiently?
A School Bus Management Software is an end-to-end integrated solution that enables schools to completely manage their transport operations more effectively and efficiently. It uses an online system to help control the day-to-day transportation processes and make real-time execution of the transportation system a lot easier!
Let us look at how this transport management software helps schools.
How Does An Automated School Bus Management System Help?
Enhanced Routing: Using bus management software,
a.Schools can efficiently allocate buses on various routes to ensure that there is no overload of students or a shortage of buses on any school route.
b.The safest and most efficient routes can eliminate any route hazards.
c.Any changes in bus schedules can also be managed effectively. You can make edits to a particular student’s routing to accommodate a one-time change. You can set student as “on vacation” to suspend service temporarily for a specific duration, rather than having to delete and then create an entirely new schedule to resume the service.
d.The improved routing, in turn, helps save fuel and costs for the school in the long run.
Accurate Pick-up/Drop Scheduling:
The school bus management system helps schools to send notifications to the parents about the exact pick-up and drop time of the students at the bus stop.
This ensures that the parents or the guardians are available at the bus stop at the right time to either pick-up or drop children without having to waste any time waiting.
In case of any delays or an emergency situation, the parents get an automatic update or an urgent notification via SMS and email informing them about their child’s whereabouts and the change in bus schedule.
Multi Calendar-based scheduling enables authorities to manage large amounts of data with ease, allowing for quick trip creation, editing, and planning. You can organize your schedules for current as well as future sessions for years.
Real-time School Bus Tracking: Using the transport management software,
Schools can easily track the buses in real time and accurately report their locations to the school authorities. This facilitates quick responses by authorities to any emergencies, breakdowns, or accidents that may take place with the school bus.
The real-time tracking also helps the school authorities to monitor bus speed, and keep a close watch on the driver’s speed limits. This helps to improve the safety of children traveling in the school bus and driver accountability.
Safety of Kids / Peace of Mind To Parents:
The school management software mobile app connects the parents to the school transport system. This enables the parents to track their children and locate the school bus anytime during the journey. This provides assurance about the safety of the children and offers complete peace of mind to the parents.
School Children Tracking & Attendance
The school bus software records all children’s school bus attendance every day using the RFID cards.
The software also provides a quick search feature to quickly look up children’s profile information such as parent’s contact number, etc.
The school management software reporting system provides regular reports related to school transport functions at the click of a button. These reports include driving route, speed limits, driving pattern, over speeding, driver punctuality report, vehicle utilization reports, and much more.
The software enables school transport authorities to manage expenses in terms of fuel, etc., by providing them reports on travel distance, travel speed, travel history, etc.
Bus Fees Tracking:
The bus management software also helps school authorities to track school bus fee payments and issue receipts for the same at the click of a button!
Bus Driver Management:
Increased efficiencies through the use of software encourage driver retention rates and makes it easier for them to bid on certain trips. The software helps to determine schedules based on seniority.
GPS data analysis ensures that pre-designated optimal and safe routes are followed by school bus drivers. Drivers access in-vehicle maps of planned routes rather than the generic Google maps that can’t display your actual plan. The software automatically incorporates turn-by-turn directions into every route and trip.
7 Tips to Choose the Best School Bus Tracking Software
Several places have started adopting school bus tracking software in order to streamline their process of keeping a track on all of their buses and ensure the safety of students.
If chosen ideally, this software can help you with route-optimization in a fraction of time. Additionally, it can track data significant to make your bus operations seamless.
Although, the demand for these routing software solutions is making way for many software businesses looking forward to trying their hands at building one.
But in this highly competitive era, a product needs to stand out among the bests. Here’s how you can choose the best routing software and manage your fleet of school buses in an optimized way.
One of the best features in a bus routing software for schools is its compatibility with different software and hardware standards – such as the addition of GPS tracking of students or secondary data collection.
Though, this is not possible for the software, it gets you involved in the sellers own product formats. Choose software that is easy to expand, without any dependency on the vendor.
2. Optimization Standards
Optimization is certifiably not an independent strategy – it relies upon what you require for your own routes. An efficient bus tracking software will take all the forms of optimization into account so that you can make the best routes for your own needs.
Also, ideal software allows bus drivers to optimize their routes.
3. Warnings for No-Entry Zones
There are so many areas on the bus route where student aren’t allowed to enter. Regardless of whether it’s a violent area or the region of a lawbreaker or a disputed land, your bus routing software ought to dependably give you the alternative to remain far from these zones.
You can ensure safety by keeping students out of these territories which are perilous.
4. GIS Mapping
GIS mapping is one of the important aspects that need to be taken care of, for the safety of school buses. When it comes to handling buses, Google, MapQuest, and Bing can’t help. The software you choose must prevent buses from turning around on sharp turns.
5. Time and Cost Efficient
A bus tracking software for school must keenly observe driving patterns of the bus drivers. It will help school authorities monitor the performance and efficiency of the drivers.
Moreover, they can utilize drivers’ idle time to the maximum. With a bus routing system, expenses can be controlled in an easier way by applying low fuel consumption, engine diagnostics, and automated driver log sheets.
6. Minimizing The Waiting Time Span
An efficient tracking system can reduce the long waiting time span of the students.
With the help of this, parents can get the notifications related to the departure and arrival time of the school buses. Moreover, this feature can minimize the risk of road accidents.
7. Better Maintenance
A GPS-enabled bus routing software provides the facility of better maintaining the buses to the schools. An automated GPS system can help them easily extract the servicing times of the school buses.
Also, warrant recovery problem gets resolved through mileage tracking. So choose a GPS-enabled bus routing system.
There are numerous school bus routing systems available to choose from. But security and safety of students is the priority. So go with a feature-rich and robust software that offers you ample reasons to choose it.
With the use of a transport management software, schools can not only function more effectively and efficiently through smarter routes and smooth operations, but they can also create a more secure and safer transportation system for their students and staff members.
An end-to-end school bus software solution like Fleetroot is specifically designed to handle any complex school transportation environment and feature unique multi-calendar based scheduling and routing, GPS tracking, student tracking with RFID cards, parent mobile apps, bus driver management, field trip management, and much more!
Fleetroot bus management software will streamline all your transportation functions and save you money, time and errors while increasing your profitability and efficiency. Get a Free Demo today!
How To Manage Your School Bus Fleet Using a School Management System?
The use of a School Management System in Dubai has enabled schools to function in smart and efficient ways. It helps schools save time, money and resources by enabling quick communications, transparent operations, and flawless administration. Many schools in Dubai are now opting to manage their entire transportation system using a school management system.
What is a School Management System?
A school management system is a complete, end-to-end school management software that automates a school’s all diverse operations and helps to manage all day-to-day academic and non-academic activities effectively.
It aims to reduce paperwork, helps in database management, and eliminate that communication gap between students, teachers, and parents.
It can be offline as well as online. Online / web-based / automated systems are more popular for the most obvious reason – easy accessibility anytime, anywhere!
Moreover, the system components can be web-based, stand-alone or mobile applications.
There are many free, paid and subscription-based school management systems available in the market today.
The basic criteria to choose are the features they offer, such as ease of use, security of data, and the cost of usage.
Key Features of an Automated School Management System:
Easy Access: The automated, web-based school management system is very user-friendly and can be accessed through smartphones.
Central Management: It can collect, store, and manage all school and student-related information at one place.
Comprehensive: The system can automate all school functions and departments on a single platform. From classes to exams to school events to school transportation, it manages all.
Online Community: The school software helps build a powerful online community to bring school authorities, teachers, parents, and students on a common interactive platform.
Reports: This software also generates a variety of reports in different formats.
Modern Technologies: The software supports all modern technologies, such as online payment gateway, parent mobile apps, RFID cards, biometrics, SMS alerts and email notifications.
Cloud-Based: Cloud-based technology is fast, secure, easy to use, and error-free. You can access real-time data from anywhere and protect data from fraudulent activities.
Modules / Components of a School Management System:
All school activities consume lots of time and resources. To get timely results and to reduce manual workload in all departments, schools must implement a school management system software.
A school management system has various modules or components that cover the entire school operations.
Student Enrolment / Online Admission Management
Teacher Management (faculty e-recruit system)
Attendance and Leave Management (RFID & Biometric attendance)
School Fee Management (Online fee payment)
Time Table Management
Exam Scheduling & Management
Syllabus Management (e-learning, Subjects study material and notes)
Health Management (school nurse / sickbay management)
Finance & Payroll Management
Stores & Inventory Management
Parent Information Management (SMS & Email reminders)
School Bus / Transport Management (Vehicle tracking system)
Thus, a smoothly-run school management system offers a number of benefits and increases efficiency in each functional area, including the most complex School Bus Transport System.
It offers features like real-time GPS tracking for school buses and a parents mobile app to keep them informed about their children’s whereabouts at all the times.
School Bus / Transport Management Module:
A school management software transport module is designed to help schools plan, manage, and optimize the entire transportation operations of their institution.
It ensures safety and security of school kids by efficiently transporting them to and from the school.
It tracks and maintains all the details related to transportation and helps to effectively manage the following activities:
Define Bus routes based on number of stops (includes setting of multiple routes for a particular student)
Maintain complete Vehicle details / bus fleet management
Maintain complete Driver details
Transportation fees collection and management
Students Attendance Reports
SMS & Notifications to parents for any delay or change in Bus Schedule
Real-time Bus Tracking: This feature allows schools to perform live monitoring of all their buses and other vehicles in the fleet using the GPS tracking software.
The Parents Mobile App empowers parents to remotely view, track and monitor the whereabouts of the school bus in which their children are travelling.
This ensures complete peace of mind for the parents.
Moreover, custom fields can be added to record any additional information required by your institution.
Reports are also available to analyse data regarding student allotments, routes, driver speed limits, vehicles, and much more!
A school management system that provides an efficient school transportation module is a preferred choice of smart schools today.
To ensure safety and security of their kids, new-age parents are also opting for schools that have an efficient school bus management system.
Fleetroot is an end-to-end school bus fleet management system that is specifically designed to handle any complex school transportation environment.
It provides key features like unique multi-calendar based scheduling and routing, GPS tracking, student tracking with RFID smart cards, parent mobile apps, bus driver management, field trip management, and much more!
Fleet Management Software plays a significant role to get live school bus position and its connectivity status at any point of time.
How A School Bus Fleet Management Software Helps Mitigate Risks?
A School Bus Fleet Management Software is a big boon for schools.
It is designed to help school transportation teams to reduce risks associated with fleet management.
There are many challenges and risks that a Fleet Manager has to face while managing the school bus fleet.
If not properly handled, the fleet managers and school authorities can land in deep trouble.
Let us look at the common risks involved in school bus fleet management and how they can be reduced using a software solution.
Risks associated with Fleet Management:
Risk of Huge Financial Loss: If a school bus meets with an accident or breaks down, it will draw a huge financial loss to the school for repairs and maintenance of the school bus. If a bus is stolen, it will be a total loss of investment made in the purchase of the bus.
Risk of Worker’s Compensation Claims: If the driver or any staff member gets injured while performing his duty during transportation, then it becomes the responsibility of the school management to pay worker’s compensation claims to the injured staff member.
Risk of Legal Implications: If any other person, including students and teachers, is injured while travelling in the school bus, then the school has to undergo many legal formalities and court cases.
In the case of a school bus accident or mishap, the entire responsibility is on the school authority to bear the medical expenses of the injured and other consequences as per the court orders.
Risk of Bad Reputation: Even a single accident case may lead to several complaints getting registered against the school management. The School authorities are held responsible for the mismanagement of the school bus fleet and being careless about school bus safety. These complaints lead to a bad reputation of the school.
Risk of Paying Penalties: Due to improper behavior of the school bus driver and irresponsible driving, the school management is at the risk of paying a large amount of money as driving penalty or compensation. This is a wasteful expenditure for the school authorities.
How To Mitigate Risks in Fleet Management?
Today, the safe transportation of school kids is the biggest concern for both parents and school authorities. Therefore, School Bus Fleet Management becomes a critical function in school operations. The Fleet Manager has to plan and assign school bus routes properly. This task may sound easy, but it really isn’t!
The complexity involved in manually managing different groups of students at different routes poses a great challenge for school authorities and they often fail to address this challenge properly, leading to increased risks.
To escape the risks, the transportation teams must give proper attention to every aspect of fleet management and take appropriate measures to reduce each and every risk. But this is easier said than done. The possibility of human errors and gaps in execution still exist in manual operations.
Therefore, a school needs to integrate technology with its school bus fleet management system to manage the risks to the maximum. It is the perfect solution to overcome all complexities, challenges, and risks involved in fleet management.
Use of Fleet Management Software In Mitigating Risks:
A school uses fleet management software to reduce various risks associated with fleet management. Let us learn how this works.
To Reduce Risk to Children’s Safety:
The best fleet management software is integrated with a GPS technology, a School Bus Tracking system, and an RFID Smart Card system that helps optimize routes, send pick-up and drop SMS notifications, monitor driver performance and behavior, and send urgent alerts during the emergencies.
These features help mitigate risks associated with the safety of school children.
The fleet management solution offers real-time visibility with intuitive real-time vehicle tracking interface for your computer and smartphone, ensuring the safe transportation of school kids.
The software also ensures the safety of kids during field trips and other off-campus activities, preventing any liability or risk for school.
To Reduce Risk of Accidents Due to Unsafe Driving Practices:
Many schools end up incurring huge financial losses due to unsafe driving practices by their drivers.
With the help of GPS fleet management software real-time tracking feature, you can keep a close watch and monitor the performance and behavior of the school bus drivers.
To Reduce Risk of Misuse of Buses:
Sometimes, bus drivers may misuse school buses for unnecessary and wasteful driving. With a school bus management software integrated with GPS technology, the school authorities can easily track the school bus location and remove the possibility of any misuse.
To Reduce Risk of Driver Improper Performance:
Apart from providing the current location of the school bus, the software can also instantly alert you of any over speeding, unscheduled bus stops, etc. by the bus drivers.
To Reduce Risk From Vehicle Breakdowns:
In case of a bus breakdown, the software immediately notifies the school authorities who then can provide assistance within a short span of time. This helps to maintain a good reputation of the school.
To Reduce Risk By Proper Vehicle Maintenance:
It is important to efficiently maintain and inspect school buses on a regular basis to avoid any vehicle breakdown. However, managing the routine maintenance schedule of a school bus fleet manually isn’t easy.
The fleet manager can mess up the dates and end up skipping some important maintenance work.
Skipping even a day’s maintenance can risk school bus safety.
Therefore, a fleet management app is extremely helpful for transportation teams to easily manage the maintenance schedule of all school buses.
With the use of the software, school bus maintenance can be planned, performed and tracked efficiently within a short period of time.
The software allows the fleet manager to set maintenance schedules in advance for the each bus.
When it’s time for maintenance, the software immediately notifies in the upcoming schedule list.
Also, automatic emails will be sent to the school bus drivers.
These e-mails can be easily converted into a work order once the school bus is in the workshop.
The software also helps to manage school bus fleet maintenance on time by having parts for services and repairs ordered and stocked in advance.
The school doesn’t have to wait for the vehicle parts to come in to start the repairs.
This makes it possible to save time and money.
The software allows you to monitor the parts and usage with regular maintenance.
The software tracks and keeps a check on the engine, oil, ball joints, tires, lights, etc., by keeping all the information updated and have them maintained on a regular basis for long life of the vehicle.
Safety and security of school children is the primary concern of school authorities and parents.
Technology plays an important role in the school transport management system to reduce the risk while routing children to and from the school.
The Fleet Management Tracking System like Fleetroot helps schools to build and manage more secure routes for their transport fleets and manage all transport related data through a single integrated solution.
Fleetroot GPS tracking makes monitoring of transport drivers simple thereby reducing the danger of accidents, risky routes, and crime against the students.
What Are The Benefits Of A School Bus GPS Tracking System?
It is the primary responsibility of the school to ensure that the students reach their homes on time and safely when they are aboard the school bus. Also, the parents are equally worried about the safety of their children. Installing a bus tracking GPS can solve these problems and offer many more benefits.
1. Boosts Fuel Efficiency
A fleet manager has to constantly keep a tab on fuel consumption as it can affect the budget of a company. It means that fuel efficiency is a top priority and crucial for the profit and sustenance of any fleet management company.
A GPS tracker helps to reduce travel distance by ensuring better bus route management in real-time. It also cuts down the idling time, helps to avoid traffic peak routes, and wrong turns so that the buses reach on time.
The tracker also allows the manager to keep a record of various metrics while tracking the school buses thereby bringing down the wastage of fuel significantly.
2. Keeps Budget Under Control
Apart from lowering fuel consumption the GPS solution also helps to cut down maintenance costs. When you regularly monitor the performance of the vehicles, their maintenance needs, and servicing schedules, it reduces downtime as well as the maintenance costs.
It ultimately contributes towards keeping the budget down.
3. Trust Of Parents
A school can win the trust of parents by installing a GPS system on its school buses. For parents, the safe transportation of their children is a prime concern.
Even though the parents entrust the responsibilities of their children on the school, they are always worried about them especially when it comes to the operating of school vehicles.
In the absence of a tracker, it is not possible for the school officials to manage different school buses placed remotely at different locations.
But the school management can easily meet this challenge and win the trust of parents once they install a tracker on each school bus.
Using the tracker, parents can monitor the movement of the school bus and the driver. In any case of an inappropriate situation, both the school authorities and the parents can take quick action.
4. Safety Of Bus Drivers
Along with the maintenance of vehicles and the safety of the students, the other concern of school management is the safety of the bus drivers.
A school bus fleet tracking system provides multiple features that not only lets you monitor the location and whereabouts of the driver but also gives you a clear idea about his driving behavior.
The tracker lets you know whether the driver is braking, turning, and harsh accelerating and accordingly if the school management finds the behavior inappropriate or rash, it can take corrective action.
Reckless speeding, harsh driving, taking unacceptable stops can put both the students and drivers at risk. A school can monitor such types of behaviors and take necessary steps to avoid the crisis. It also obviates the dependency on physical papers such as log records and books.
5. Avoiding Child Abduction Incidences
A GPS tracking solution when clubbed with RFID cards can keep the children safe as it is an advanced solution that confirms whether your child has boarded the school bus or not and also whether he has got off on the right bus stop.
Other than that, the abduction of school buses for ransom is also on the rise. Knowing the right location of the school bus at all the time can avoid such incidences.
The tracker also sends alert to the parents as well as the school management if their child misses the bus. Thus, the use of a GPS solution on school bus ensures that your child is constantly under surveillance.
6. Reducing Accident Risks
Avoiding accidents to school buses is the top priority. It is quite heartbreaking to hear about school bus accidents as many small children get injured or lose their lives. By monitoring performance of the drivers on the road, keeping a track about the vehicles ‘maintenance and replacing aging buses you can reduce the accident risks.
From driver identification devices to getting notifications and configuring the GPS device as per the requirement can certainly put a break to the probabilities of accidents.
7. Efficiency In Record Keeping
For a fleet management company , it is important to monitor whether the allocated funds are being used properly or not. That makes suitable maintenance of record in detail quintessential.
The fleet tracking system provides you a comprehensive data that gives you all the details about the mileage, the stops taken by the driver, condition of the vehicle and all the related key factors.
The accuracy of data is guaranteed which directly contribute towards improving the efficiency of your record keeping and the company at large.
Importantly, you never have to retain files and documents all the time for the presentation. Whenever there is a need to submit a report, you can directly print the data and forward it to the budget committee.
8. Evaluating Trip History
Most of the GPS trackers come up with the feature of trip history that allows the administrator to revisit the entire trip even after the driver has reached the destination.
Many times despite proper allocation of routes, the school buses fail to meet the schedule requirements. There can be many reasons for that including bad roads, on-road work, or uprooting of trees due to bad weather and so on.
By revisiting the trip history, a manager can properly plan the schedule for the school buses. If there is no other option then he may pre-schedule the timings or otherwise change the route altogether.
9. Wrong Use Of Vehicles
The alerts and notification that the tracker sends to the school authorities also includes the time when the engine of the bus is turned off and on. So, the authorities are alerted whenever the vehicle is being used for un-permitted actions thereby ensuring the safety of both the assets as well as that of the students.
10. Anytime, Anywhere System
Since the tracking system is cloud-based, parents and school authorities can track it anytime anywhere through their mobile devices, making tracking very easy to all.
You can receive notifications and alerts through Email and SMS which ensures that you never miss the single information.
So, by using a school bus tracking system, it is possible to add more efficiency and transparency to the overall operations and also ensure the safety of the students all in one go.
10 WAYS TO REDUCE TRAFFIC CONGESTION AROUND SCHOOLS
Millions of families and communities are affected by the traffic congestion around the schools. With parents dropping the students personally every day, the emissions and traffic congestion is going beyond the control.
Here are how you can reduce congestion around the schools:
1. Reducing Vehicular Traffic
To manage traffic congestion the first step is to encourage the students, staff, caregivers as well as the parents to reduce vehicular traffic. They can do so by using alternate modes of transport including walking, scooting, cycling, taking the school bus, using public transport, using a walking school bus or even carpooling.
For that the school must follow certain steps:
• Educating Staff And Parents
Most of the parents prefer dropping their children to the school stating various issues such as time constraints, traffic hazards, bad weather, and distance. School authorities must educate the parents about using alternate modes of transport that they can avail.
• Making Them Aware Of Their Roles
The parents should be made aware of the role they can play in cutting down congestion and contributing to increasing student safety through PTA newsletters or leaflets.
• Health Aspect And Environment
Educating parents about the benefits of cycling or walking to school and how less use of vehicles can make a good impact on the environment can encourage the use of the alternate mode of transport.
Schools can start offering point system or rewards to those who use such environment-friendly modes of reaching the school thereby motivating the students.
• Introducing Walking School Bus Programs
Introducing effective methods such as walking school bus programs in which an adult has entrusted the responsibility of escorting a group of children on a pre-determined route that reaches the school can also lessen the use of vehicles.
It can be extremely beneficial for the children who live near to the school. Staff or school volunteers can serve as escorts for the children ensuring that they reach properly from car to school. It will automatically make the drop off activity quicker.
2. Identifying Traffic Issues
To identify the traffic issues every school must have a checklist that should include:
• Does the school have a travel plan? If no then what are the options provided by the school?
• Are the road types mostly used by the parents or the caregivers for dropping and picking up their children in good condition?
• Does the bad state of streets in any way responsible for the increase in traffic volume?
• What are the different methods used by the staff and the students to reach the school?
Solutions to these questions can surely help a school in a big way in cutting down traffic snarls around the vicinity.
3. Checking Exit And Entry Points
How many exits and entry points do your school has? This information is particularly crucial when the traffic increases. Importantly, access points with poor visibility can further increase congestion. Depending on the requirement, management should think of increasing exit and entry points.
The school body can assess the impact of traffic and may point out if taking such measures can make a difference.
4. Controlling And Monitoring Access Points
Are the access points to the school controlled and monitored properly? Management should look into this aspect and ensure that they are open only at a certain time.
Does the access point have any safety issues, for example, big trees or bumps in between that causes the vehicles to take more time getting in?
Similarly, find out whether the ground offers enough space for the traffic for movement. For example, narrow driveways force the vehicles to operate in only one direction leading to traffic congestion.
5. Separating Access Points
Does the school offer separate access points for pedestrians or cyclers? If no, then the school can do much better in managing traffic issues by coming up with such separate access points.
Similarly, if a different type of traffic is directed to different locations it can help reduce traffic congestion’s. For example, pick up and drop off by the bus can be assigned to one area whereas the pickup and drop off for parents can be arranged in another area.
6. Car Pooling And School Bus
For students who live far away from school, the bus is the best option. On average, 38 cars are used for transporting an average of 45 students which can be easily done by just one school bus. It certainly can bring down the number of vehicles stranded in front of the school every day.
The queue of vehicles can also be reduced at the school access points if the students opt for car-pooling with others living in close locations.
7. Clear Designation Of Pick And Drop Off Points
Designating the pickup and drop off points separately for cars and buses as well as introducing a dedicated drop off zone that is away from the parking area will help to improve the flow of the traffic.
The school must encourage the use of alternate routes for both in and out of the premises so that all the vehicles do not get congregated in one location.
8. Temporary Parking Spaces For Peak Areas
Trouble brews up mostly during the peak hours. Creating temporary parking spaces for pick up and drop off using sign-boards when the traffic is at its peak can ease the congestion. Schools can approach local administration authorities for additional space if they lack adequate parking spaces.
9. Training High School Students
High school students who come on their vehicle should be given proper training about how and where to park in the school. If these students are asked to come 10 minutes early and leave several minutes after their classes are over, it can contribute a lot in reducing traffic congestion.
10. Revising Traffic Conditions
If the traffic problem is quite severe, a school can request local administration to revise the timings of traffic lights to suit the period of the school.
Co-ordination with the people/offices in the nearing areas and the local traffic authorities can enable re-routing of streets or no entry/one-way signs during the peak period and can divert the traffic away.
Another effective way to manage such traffic snarls during peak hours is by introducing a bus tracking system using GPS for the school buses. Having a constant update about the school buses can help school authorities effectively handle the traffic issues.
Are you looking for an effective solution to manage traffic congestion at your school?
What is the Best School Bus Tracking Solution for Dubai?
Challenges faced by School Transportation Sector in Dubai
Dubai being a global city and a major transport hub in the world, traffic congestion is a perennial problem. When it comes to the school transportation sector however, the challenges are manifold:
1.According to the Roads & Transport Authority (RTA), school transportation constitutes 13% of all traffic, and is witnessing an unprecedented growth – set to reach 115,000 trips per hour by 2020, and 176,000 trips per hour by 2030.
However, school bus users account for only 11% of students; about 88% of students prefer to use private cars to travel to their schools. To add to that, the average occupancy rate in school buses is only about 53%, which means fleet utilization and efficiency is low.
2.The geographical distribution of schools is skewed, with 62% of schools in Deira and 38% in Bur Dubai. This causes even more congestion near the schools.
3.Reasons cited by parents for not using school buses were: prohibitive transport fees, rash driving, and extended time taken by school buses.
4.Even though RTA has laid out elaborate rules and regulations for school bus safety and continues to upgrade them, mishaps and accidents do happen, mainly due to driver negligence.
In September 2019, 15 students were injured when a school bus crashed into a water tanker during the morning rush hour. The accident happened because the driver was tailgating the vehicle in front.
In Sharjah, a fire engulfed a school bus, but luckily all students were safely evacuated in time. In June, a six year old boy died after falling asleep and being left behind in an empty bus.
5.The start of a school term in August-September is usually marked by chaos in school bus routes, as many students either don’t make it to school, or board the wrong bus on the return trip. Reasons cited for this are lack of proper demand estimation and route planning of buses, traffic congestion after the holiday season, and confusion regarding student addresses.
RTA has mandated GPS tracking, CCTV cameras and electronic attendance of students, but the majority of school buses still deploy the traditional GPS/ GPRS based tracking systems, which do little to alleviate parent concerns, ensure safety, or increase fleet efficiency.
The need of the hour is to implement an advanced school bus GPS tracking system that employs IOT based telematics and cloud computing along with GPS, to help address the above challenges. Read on to see how:
Ensuring Safety on the Bus
1.Video and Image capture: Installing 360°cameras with live streaming and recording features can help to monitor and record what’s happening inside and outside the bus.
A surveillance team can immediately alert the authorities if they see anything alarming. Reverse cameras can get activated when the driver starts to reverse the bus, giving him a clear view of the back, when he needs it.
A stop arm camera placed right below the stop arm can record details of vehicles that try to overtake the school bus when its stop sign is on.
2.Child Checkmate System: This is an automated electronic alarm system that gets activated at the end of a route, signaling to the driver that he must manually check the bus so that no kid is left behind.
3.Advanced Sensors: Motion Sensors (Inside and Outside): Inside the bus, the sensors can detect the smallest of activity, so that if a child gets left behind on a bus, it does not go unnoticed.
Outside the bus, sensors can detect the presence of any person or object immediately in front and back of the vehicle, which are the ‘blind-spots’. This could help avoid accidents, when children are alighting from the bus, or trying to cross the road.
Safety Sensors: These are used to check if the driver and students have put on safety belts and the doors are firmly shut when the bus is in motion. This ensures that students don’t accidentally get thrown out when the bus turns on a round-about.
4.Geofencing / Geotagging: Designated areas, destinations, routes and stops on a map are ear-marked for every bus, and drivers need to ply on the assigned route. if the driver deviates from the route, notifications would be sent out to all concerned and transport managers could take prompt action.
5.On-Road Safety: The efficient allocation of buses ensures that an optimum number of buses are plying and there is no overloading. Routes are scanned and adjusted on the go to ensure that the drivers avoid traffic laden roads or areas that may be hazardous for children.
6.Panic Button Alarms: A school bus on the road could have to face a number of emergency situations: mechanical breakdowns, fire, crash, intruders, bullying, suspicious objects, weather hazards, missing children, hostage situation etc.
In such situations, the driver or attendant could use the panic button to share the exact co-ordinates, the bus type and make, as well as the type of emergency situation to the local traffic and police authorities, so that a relief team could be rushed to them.
7.Collision Mitigation System: Radar technology is used to detect metallic objects up to 500 feet in front of the school bus. The system first alerts the driver and then applies automatic brakes if the driver fails to take action. This effectively deals with the problem of tailgating.
Addressing Parent’s Concerns
8.Real Time Tracking: While GPS devices installed on the school buses can help to track the location of the buses in real time, cloud and mobility solutions can enable parents, school authorities and transport managers to easily track the bus movements via customized smart phone apps.
They also get realistic estimates on expected time of arrival (ETA) of the bus, and get notified on their app for unscheduled stops and speeding incidents.
9.Real Time Child Tracking: RFID technology would be employed to issue unique ID cards to children, which would get scanned every time they entered or left a school bus.
If a student boarded the wrong bus by mistake, or got down at a different bus stop, the parents and school authorities would instantly come to know. Also, if a card would not get scanned a second time, it would mean the child was still in the bus.
10.Monitoring Driver Behavior: Various sensors on board would help to monitor driver behavior to ensure that they keep within the speed limits, with no aggressive turning, braking or honking.
They would have to indicate the stop sign at bus stops, check student attendance, and conduct pre and post trip checks. If they default on any parameter, they can be easily identified.
Enhancing Fleet Efficiency
11.Automated Route Planning: With a modern school bus tracking system, the whole process of route planning and allocation is automated.
School authorities need to simply import the student database with street level addresses, and specify either number of buses, route duration or maximum route time, and the system does the rest.
It calculates the most efficient routes that not only saves time but also fuel. Moreover, these routing systems are dynamic, so every little change on a day to day basis is easily incorporated.
12.Optimized Fleet Maintenance: The RTA mandates compulsory maintenance of school buses for every 10,000 km. But for a fleet of buses, it is practically impossible to manually keep a track of maintenance schedules.
With the tracking system, transport managers can create schedules and set up reminders for periodic checks and servicing, so that the major breakdowns and down times are avoided. Over the long term it reduces wear and tear and increases the service life of the school buses.
13.Savings on Fuel: The system helps to keep a check on idling, speeding and excessive braking, all of which increase fuel consumption and bring down the fuel economy. Increasing fuel efficiency in this way translates into more savings for the fleet.
14.Savings on Labor Cost: The system empowers drivers with guided navigation, two-way app-based communication, automated pre and post trip check formats, automatic hours of service logging and streamlined attendance procedures.
This results in better productivity and job satisfaction and increased retention, which also lowers recruitment and training expenses.
15.Savings on Insurance Cost: Investing in a tracking system assures insurance companies that school bus maintenance is streamlined and driving practices are monitored. Also, in the event of theft, they know the buses will be easily traceable. Hence insurance premiums would reduce by as much as 18%.
Top 10 Ways To Manage School Transport Systems Using Virtual Monitoring
Over the last decade, school transportation systems worldwide have witnessed a tech revolution of sorts – driven primarily by GPS tracking and telematics, and more recently by advanced cameras, IOT and RFID.
All of these connective technologies help to virtually monitor school buses and students in novel ways, opening up the potential for much greater safety and efficiency for the school commute. Read on to see how:
1.Real Time Bus Tracking
GPS device installed on the school buses provide real time location information, and a cloud-based software overlays this on a map. School authorities, transport managers and parents can then access this live information on their phone applications or desktops.
Transport Managers can get accurate ETA’s, monitor the movement of all buses on a single map, and can also send dispatch instructions to drivers in real time. They can even set up alerts for route deviations and speeding incidents.
School buses can get advanced 360°cameras installed, with live-streaming and recording facility. These cameras can capture high resolution images and videos from inside as well as outside the bus and transmit live feed to a central location. A surveillance team can constantly monitor these feeds and alert authorities if anything is amiss.
This is an invaluable feature to safeguard children from bullying and many other threats while on the bus.
3.Stop Arm Cameras
These are cameras installed directly below the Stop Arm, which can capture details of vehicles illegally passing the school bus when the stop sign is displayed. Drivers no longer need to peer at side mirrors to check for such defaulters or manually write down vehicle details. Instead, the captured images can be sent to law enforcement to hand out fines to defaulters.
4.Real Time Student Tracking
RFID card scanners can be installed on school buses, and RFID chips embedded on the student ID cards. These ID cards then get swiped every time the child boards or alights from the bus.
In this way, schools, parents and transport managers can track individual students during the school commute. Alert notifications can be set up for any eventuality – if the child misses the bus, gets off at the wrong stop, or boards the wrong bus.
This system uses a two-factor authentication process in which schools, parents and transport managers co-ordinate virtually with each other over the student’s whereabouts. This provides near fool proof security for the children.
5. Optoelectronic Safety Sensors
There can be a number of safety sensors on board a school bus. Transport managers can get alert notifications if there is a seat belt violation, if the doors open accidentally when the bus is in motion, or if the driver fails to put up the Stop Arm when the bus halts at a stop.
IOT enabled sensors can detect the smallest of movements inside the school bus and can check if a student gets left behind in the school bus. Sensors on the outside of the bus can detect the presence of children or objects in the immediate vicinity of the bus, which are blind spots for drivers.
School buses can also have virtual panic buttons that can be triggered in case of an emergency by the driver or by the students via an app. The School authorities and first responders could get instantly alerted in times of emergencies and the required relief teams could be rushed to the spot.
6.Monitoring Fuel Prices
The system also helps to keep a track of fuel consumption and reduce fuel wastage by monitoring fuel spends through fuel cards and fuel sensors, miles driven, ignition on/off, routes taken, time taken to complete a trip, extent of idling as well as speeding, harsh braking etc. This enhances the efficiency of the transport system and saves on fuel expenses.
7.Driver Behavior Monitoring System
Transport Managers can keep a close track on driver’s habits via specialized sensors that highlight speeding incidents, harsh braking and swerving etc. and could directly communicate with the driver through their App. Drivers can even get in-vehicle alerts to instantly correct their driving behavior and avoid a possible collision or an accident.
Advanced sensors can also be installed on the bus to alert transport managers as well as drivers for issues such as damaged indicator lights, engine faults, damaged oil tanks, or problems with transmission or exhaust systems. This helps to carry out accurate as well as timely repairs, avoiding sudden breakdowns and unexpected maintenance expenses down the line.
9.Preventive Maintenance Alerts
Transport managers can set up service intervals and detailed maintenance requirements for each school bus in the fleet, and the system would track engine hours or miles driven and automatically send out maintenance alerts based on the criteria.
Instead of paper-based driver vehicle inspection reports (DVIRs), transport managers and drivers can set up RFID tags for each inspection zone of the school bus, and simply scan these tags while carrying out pre and post trip checks. The scanned information would get transmitted electronically to the web-based application, thus helping transport managers virtually monitor the regularity of such checks.
There are exciting times ahead for school transportation systems, as many of the above technologies and systems become more and more accessible to schools.
The best part is, a modern school bus GPS tracker can integrate all of these technologies seamlessly within an intuitive, easy to use interface, helping school transport managers monitor every aspect and take timely and well-informed decisions, without burning a hole in their pocket.
Interested in knowing how an advanced GPS and IOT based platform can help you drive efficiencies in your school transport system?
8 Remarkable Ways To Manage & Improve Driving Behavior
A school bus tracker can enhance the performance of your vehicle but is the drivers that are the true backbone of the fleet industry.
Buses are the carriers of lives and good drivers are the most essential asset. It is hence, imperative, to identify risky driving habits and work on them in order to convert them to better and avoid any mishaps.
Here is how you can track, improve and manage the driving behavior of your staff
1. Monitor the drivers’ behavior
In order to find a solution, you first need to focus on looking out for the problem. Identify what are the issues with the drivers and then look for solutions on how you can ease their woes.
Does the driver drive too rash? Does he operate on his phone when behind the wheel? Is he/she not behaving well with the students? These are a few issues that drivers on school buses face.
To address poor driving practices, keep a close watch on them. Monitor how they perform behind the wheel. Score each behavior pattern.
Assigning marks to each category not only helps you keep track of their progress but also helps you develop a dataset of your employees. You can hence, compare and spot the weak spots in the organization.
One great resource to keep a check on the drivers is the use of telematics. Assuming it to be high on the pocket, most schools or fleet services tend to ignore investing in a quality school bus GPS tracking system.
Telematics can help you to track real-time speed, routing, traffic signal jumps, harsh brakes or acceleration, tailgating or idle time.
Very rarely do people accept their mistakes. And drivers are no different. Also, sometimes the drivers are themselves unaware of the wrong practices that they follow.
This is where the data derived from a fleet monitoring software comes into use. Identify the areas which need the most help and then develop a strategy to address them accordingly.
For example, if the data shows that the driver repeatedly applies harsh breaks, the manager can conclude that either there is an issue of tailgating or the driver is not able to navigate very well.
Another mine of information is the students. They are on board the bus usually and hence know the drivers’ behavior very well. Ask them if their ride to school was bumpy or if they spotted the driver talking on the phone.
Sharp kids will let you know the minute details like if the driver was distracted, if he was sleepy or if he was not adhering to the prescribed speed limits.
2. Develop a parameter, identify driving goals
In order to properly track the progress, it is important that you establish a baseline. Once you have a starting point, it becomes easier to compare the progress over the certain period of time.
Without a set parameter, you will spread yourself too far without yielding the right results.
Set proper goals and have a fixed time period to track the development. Let the employees know about the areas where they will be judged as well.
A set baseline also helps you save time when you are screening new recruits, With insight into driving patterns of your existing employees, you know which red flags to keep a lookout for.
This will help you to weed out the not-so-good drivers and add the best of the lot to your team.
3. Check for common bad behavior or potential triggers
Sometimes the drivers tend to follow incorrect practices without their knowledge or for no fault of theirs.
For example, a driver might not know that not wearing a seat belt will attract a fine in your country or a section of drivers are unfamiliar with the GPS maps onboard the bus.
Sometimes, it is the fleet that is at fault. Two or three drivers applying harsh brakes onboard the same bus can also imply that there might be a maintenance issue with the vehicle.
Identify these areas of stress and work on them.
Common issues will also appear in those who join new. A section of your new recruits might not be well aware of the speed limits that you have, the routes that are more preferred or the vehicle tracking software that you actually use.
Get them all together and make them familiar with your organization’s structure. This will not only help you in reducing your time wastage but will also help in the effective utilization of resources.
4. Train the drivers
One cannot emphasize the importance of coaching your drivers. You might have identified all the problems right, but without proper guidance, they will still remain unsolved issues.
The key to changing poor habits is by constant education and imparting of knowledge. Train them about the safety culture that you follow and the best driving policy.
Show them the realities of unsafe practices and make them realize the consequences that they will have to bear in case they rash drive, drink and drive or distracted driving.
A fleet monitoring software will help you identify the loopholes in driving and it is important that you discuss them with the drivers and work on them.
Most software comes with an in-built recording feature. This helps you in developing a greater clarity on what was actually going on while the driving was on and in turn train them better.
Have training sessions where you answer their questions and also check their knowledge.
A safe fleet is not an overnight process. A change in driving practices requires patience and constant motivation. Hence, training should not be a one-off occasion but be ingrained in your company’s culture.
Make the workshops interesting with activities like quizzes or hold fun outings together. Training sessions not only help the drivers to refresh their knowledge but also re-energize.
Check out online driver safety courses, other awareness programs that can help them grow
5. Discuss the problem areas
Your drivers cannot be held accountable for improper practices if they can’t distinguish between good and bad driving.
Have a safety manual that clearly outlines what is expected of the drivers and what they shouldn’t do behind the wheels.
In case they have queries, talk it out. Discuss them with if they have a problem with the vehicle, staff, routes or work timings.
When they are made aware of the poor driving habits and the associated safety risks, they will learn to identify it themselves over a course of time and then correct it eventually.
6. Recognize, incentivize positive driving behavior
Rewards not only make children happy but the drivers as well. Incentives imply that their work is being acknowledged and appreciated.
The size of the rewards doesn’t usually matter. It can be something as small as a pat on the back or some gift for their safe driving.
It is important to understand that driving can be an exhausting job. Hence, little acknowledgments boost the energy up.
Let the drivers know that they are being monitored and that the best of them stand the chance to win a reward.
As is human nature, when they know that they will receive something in exchange for their services (apart from the salary), they will be more excited to do the job.
But be careful while criticizing them. No one likes to be called out as a bad or negligent driver. Such words can discourage them. Try to avoid such language.
7. Identify signs of burnout
Burnout is a reality. Hence, don’t try to shy away from it. Instead, try and identify the signs.
More often than not, improper driving behavior is because of fatigue. When exhaustion takes over the body, the drivers are not able to give their all to the job and concentrate on the road.
Burnout, is, however, more than just tiredness and fatigue. Sometimes, drivers tend to distance themselves from their job. Ask students if the driver appears aloof or behaves differently.
Don’t let the job just be about driving. Include a few fun elements to re-energize the staff. Outings, or games, once in a while, should be encouraged.
You can also have healthy competition between the drivers to engage them in their jobs. You can probably try something like a ‘Drivers’ scoreboard’ where you mark each of them every month according to their skill.
Sometimes, drivers also face the issue of lack of confidence, considering the nature of their work and societal attitude towards it.
Ask students to write a short letter to them because they make sure that the kids reach home safe and sound each day. This will definitely make them feel special and will bring their attention back to the job.
This will also show them that the students are recognizing their efforts. Recognition goes a long way in boosting confidence. Incentives can also be used here.
8. Choose the correct solution
A good-quality fleet tracker can be your eyes and ears on-board a bus.
They have an in-built recording system, dashcams and real-time alerts that always keep the administration in the loop.
As mentioned above, data from telematics can help you analyze the driver better as you can have real-time data on the speed limit, if the driver applies harsh brakes, the routes that are taken, if the vehicle is driving out of the lane or if there is less distance between two fleets on the road.
The tracking software also allows you to know if the driver was distracted, away on a phone call or was busy in a conversation with someone else on board.
Modern software also sends out a real-time alert when they see that there is a traffic violation or the driver is distracted. Hence, you don’t have to wait for the drivers to be off the road in order to help them.
In case you don’t want to invest in a technologically advanced solution, bring home a software equipped with dash cams.
The dash cam records everything that takes place aboard the bus. Modern tools can also detect bad driving practices.
Hence, you don’t have to waste your time scanning through the footage. The software will take you directly when there was a harsh incident and you can talk it out with the drivers. This can be handy during the training sessions.
Technology is drastically changing and with it are the driving behaviors. Keep up with the changes in the industry and implement them in your safety policy.
When a modern school bus GPS tracker can assist you in augmenting your drivers’ performance and also keep track of their progress, with minimal human intervention, why not equip your vehicle with one and avail the benefits?
Schools in Dubai are already making huge investments in school buses that confirm to RTA’s high safety standards.
The next logical step is to invest in a leading-edge GPS plus IOT based school bus tracking system that integrates with advanced safety features and also provides added benefits of automated routing and cost savings across the board.
After all, the best school bus tracking solution should not only win the confidence of parents, but also make good business sense. Don’t you agree?
Get Free Demo of Fleetroot School Bus Tracking System Now.