When we talk about district goals, such as increasing enrollment, boosting campus safety, or impacting student outcomes, we’re typically referring to initiatives that occur on campus. While the vast majority of projects do involve physical location, a newer technology operates outside the walls of the classroom that can affect real change in student success: fleet management systems.These systems include technology components that help administrators, Transportation, and Facilities ensure that the busing system is operating efficiently, safely, and at minimal cost.Here are some of the benefits of a tricked-out fleet management solution:
Let’s face it: any type of vehicular transportation (school bus related or not) has some inherent risk. Your district can mitigate that risk with some emerging technologies. For example, many fleet management systems include what’s called an Electronic Logging Device (ELD) for bus drivers to ensure they’re not working excessive hours, leading to exhaustion and diminished ability to safely transport students. This system is a major improvement over the clunky manual logging process that many districts still use. Some other examples of safety measures implemented in fleet management systems are mechanical in nature. From brakes to fluids, tire pressure to engine temperature, this system can provide the diagnostics necessary to keep your school buses in tip-top shape as they carry their precious cargo. These diagnostics can either be accessed through a tool that is plugged into a port on the vehicle between trips, or it can be cloud based to automate the dissemination of information. These advanced safety measures can go a long, long way toward keeping the kiddos safer on the road.
Let’s be honest. Data is not the first thing most of us think about when it comes to student transportation. In fact, many districts don’t think about collecting any data regarding their busing system. In the age of IoT, we’ve learned there’s actually a lot of valuable information that can be gathered from your district vehicles, and a good fleet management system can help you collect and analyze that data for the best outcomes. Your schools could be optimizing their pickup and drop-off routes for time and fuel efficiency; recording driver actions, such as harsh maneuvering or braking; and keeping records in case of an incident to exculpate your staff members (or conversely uncover dangerous behavior that needs immediate attention). What if there’s an incident where a driver fails to engage the stop sign while students disembark? We sincerely hope this never leads to a serious situation, but in the event that it does, those investigating will appreciate the ability to concretely determine whether or not the stop sign was extended. This is just one example of the many ways that data can vastly improve the transport experience for everyone.
We live in a world where we watch the path our pizza delivery takes from the oven to our front door. Why wouldn’t we extend the same focus to students who are traveling from home to school and back? Late buses can cause children to be exposed to dangerous situations like busy streets, inclement weather, and unknown individuals, so minimizing deviations from the schedule are paramount. Pupil tracking gives parents, administrators, and teachers access to student location at all times, proving to be an incredibly valuable component to fleet management systems.
The benefits of a fleet management system are innumerous, from providing the best and safest student experience to making your district more appealing to parents, thus helping to maintain (or increase) your average daily attendance. Like every technology initiative, one of the biggest mistakes you can make with a project like this is to operate it in a silo. Several departments have an instrumental role in ensuring that you are able to effectively implement a process that meets the district’s success criteria. IT should engage key stakeholders, and there should be participation from Facilities, Transportation, student management, parent engagement specialists, and even teachers. The most difficult task is finding a partner who can help you tie it all together and devise a plan with realistic outcomes and measurable success criteria. Once you find a partner who can help you with implementation and sustainability, it’s pedal to the metal with fleet management.
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