Kindergarten students, who ride the school bus, were the first to test out the program. They were given a radio frequency identification card to scan whenever they got on or off the bus.
Developed by Tyler Technologies, the program has been used by other districts across the nation. Transportation Director Chlorissa Goddard said the cards, which are authenticated by the District’s bus routing system, have been a big success.
“The kindergarteners love to scan their cards and are excited to do so,” said Goddard. “If they tried to scan their card on the wrong bus, there would be an immediate alert to the bus driver that they weren’t getting onto the right bus.”
Goddard explained regular bus drivers quickly become familiar with who is riding their bus but sometimes a substitute must fill in. The scan cards help add another level of surety that kindergarteners are getting on the right bus and off at the right stop.
The card does not contain personal contact information and can easily be replaced if lost or damaged. Students participating in the pilot program will be able to keep their cards for next school year when they become first-graders. Eventually, the program will be expanded to include other grades.
In addition to the scan cards, each bus now has a mounted electronic tablet device that drivers can use to pull up route-specific information. The password protected device contains lists of student riders, stop locations, and expected arrival times. It also gives visual and audio turn-by-turn directions to each stop on the route which makes it easy for substitute bus drivers to fill in. The tablets are equipped with GPS which allows the Transportation Department to view information about the location, speed and direction heading of each school bus.
Before and after each route run, drivers can undock the tablet and take it with them as they perform their pre and post-trip vehicle inspections. It displays a customized checklist and makes an electronic log of completed tasks.
Next year, the district also plans to pilot an app, Traversa Ride 360. Login to the app will be both secure and confidential. Parents and students will be able to use the app’s GPS geolocation to see where the school bus is and its expected arrival time. Access to real-time data can help students make sure they are at their bus stop at the right time.
For additional information, please contact the Transportation Department at (435) 833-1916.