Above: Student transporters are now able to request live video of incidents on the school bus if and when an incident occurs. Right: Transfinder demonstrates how school bus technology is extending to municipal fleets, in this case snow plows operated by the City of Schenectady in New York.

record drivers passing illegally, as well as capture plate numbers and vehicle makes. In Kentucky, it is illegal to pass a stopped school bus in either direction on a two-lane road if the warning lights are on. Te Jef- ferson County School District in Kentucky had enough of the violations. In 2014, the county became an early adaptor of real-time monitoring technol- ogy, using a customized system that inter- twined technologies from 247 Security and Transfinder. No longer would employees use labor-intensive processes to investigate incidents by physically locating the bus and manually downloading video from the vehicle’s hard drive. With more than 1,400 buses and a

network of 11 bus yards, the county school district invested in sensors, interior-exterior cameras, Wi-Fi systems, and a GPS track- ing system. When drivers pass a stopped school bus, cameras record the incident. A public service campaign warned Kentucky drivers with billboards reading, “It’s not just a stop sign. It’s a child’s life.” Other districts increasingly are using

38 School Transportation News • MAY 2017

side-mounted cameras alongside stop arms, as a way to identify vehicles that pass buses at loading zones. Since 1999, North Car- olina had 14 students killed at bus stops. In March, North Carolina state lawmakers voted in favor of allowing counties to operate school bus stop-arm cameras, as a way to protect students. In April, Stokes County Schools in North Carolina became the latest district to add cameras to 15 buses, in hopes of capturing violators. “Tis will hopefully deter folks from

running stop arms. Our goal is always safety first so that’s what we’re trying to accomplish,” said Brad Lankford, Director of Transportation for the school system.

VIDEO IN SMARTER CITIES School buses are increasingly becoming

part of the safety ecosystem that’s emerging for smart cities, where cameras, sensors, and Wi-Fi hot spots are creating surveil- lance for entire communities. According to Vice President Frank

Gazeley, Transfinder launched its education technology services 28 years ago with its

first customer in New York, the Schenect- ady School district. Coincidentally, the company just gained its first municipal customer, the City of Schenectady, which transferred GPS technology and cameras from school buses to a fleet of snowplows last winter. It was all serendipitous. “Te city’s demonstration of our tech- nology on snow plows occurred during a blizzard,” said Gazeley, who indicated there were 100 cameras installed on the snowplows for the event. “Tey could see the plows (on a Transfinder GPS map), and it helped residents know when the plows were coming to their streets.” Part of a smart city initiatives, the demonstration showed how technology can increase the efficiency of snowplows, garbage trucks and other city vehicles. “Cameras and video will soon be every-

where, capturing events that can be used by law enforcement,” echoed Antonio Civitell, Transfinders chief executive offi- cer. “Schools are becoming an element of smart cities.” ●


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