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News


tion staff can log in from anywhere to view video footage for incident investigations. Frisco ISD downloads video and vehicle data every time the buses return to the yard, helping the district create an indexed library for immediate and remote access. “We don`t waste time searching for video anymore. It is essential for us to have access to video when we need it. Now that we have everything under control with video on board, we can focus on increasing student safety and managing the fleet effi- ciently,” said Doug Becker, Transportation Director at Frisco ISD.


ON-DEMAND VIDEO GOES MAINSTREAM


SPECIAL REPORT


A Constant Eye On Events Video and other technology is increasing school bus safety


WRITTEN BY JULIE METEA W


ith budget and resource constraints, fleet operators may not have compel- ling reasons to invest in


real-time, continuous loop video on school buses. As technology develops with speed and lower prices, opportunities are improv- ing to install video systems for real-time intelligence on school buses. Video helps operators monitor activity inside and outside of the bus, and it is used to reveal events ranging from bullying to accidents. New technologies automate video downloads to remote servers via a Wi-Fi connection. Te video downloads can be configured manually or automatical- ly through pre-set parameters, such as when bus doors open or alarms go off. “When a serious incident happens on a school bus it often gets media attention and school transportation staff scramble to answer questions about what happened


36 School Transportation News • MAY 2017


and how it may have been prevented,” said Lori Jetha, marketing communications manager at Seon. “Live streaming video and real-time data are effective for assessing situations.” Frisco Independent School District in


Texas used to have one staff member ded- icated to manually locate and watch video recordings of incidents on more than 250 buses. When a request came in for video clips, the employee traveled to one of three bus lots to retrieve the footage, making it cumbersome during emergencies and sensitive investigations. For better control of its fleet, Frisco ISD upgraded to a video system with five interior cameras, mobile digital recorder and wireless access on the buses. All downloaded video is stored on a shared central server, which authorized users can access from different locations. Using Seon’s vMax Commander video management software, the transporta-


School buses with interior and exterior cameras linked to real-time monitoring technologies have the ability to mark video of the incidents, as a way to catch and pros- ecute violators who endanger students. Marking video can be done manually or automatically. When bus drivers want to index an incident, they push a button to record the event. Te video footage is downloaded via Wi-Fi, either in real-time with a live connection or upon returning to bus yards. Trough automated systems, cameras start recording upon erratic signals on the bus, such as speeding, swerving or hard braking. Video management software also allows bus operators to locate video by highlight- ing the location of an incident on GPS maps that display all vehicles. With a few clicks on the map, users can pinpoint the start- and end-points for a video download. “If you’re a transportation director, you’re having to try to understand what happened and investigate events all the time. In the old days, it was a he said-she said scenario, making it hard to understand what was true. Tat’s not the case anymore with video marking,” said Robert Scott, vice president of 247Security, Inc. Districts are also justifying video systems to catch drivers who pass school buses at a stop. Te National Association of State


Directors of Pupil Transportation estimates that vehicles pass stopped school buses over 13 million times a year. Te violators put students at risk of injury and death, as they try to cross the street. At least 15 states now allow cameras outside of school buses to


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