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Wa-Nee Community School District in Indiana is among an increasing number of school transportation departments that rely on digital dashboards to benchmark school bus and driver performance.


Te Indiana incident, along with others across the nation, stand to benefit from data and information that could be aggregated by sensors that transmit through a digital cloud. Tat system calculates, identifies and assesses dangerous intersections, roads, aggressive drivers, erratic driving behavior and risky mechanical conditions. Te technology sends red flags to fleet managers, who log into a remotely monitored dashboard portal and continuously monitor such information.


MULTI-FUNCTIONAL PLATFORMS FOR VISIBILITY AND CONTROL


Digital dashboards for school buses are a boon to fleet and transportation managers who seek robust visibility and control of their operations. For instance, Howard County Public Schools in Ellicott City,


Maryland, uses 468 buses to transport 56,799 students to 77 school sites. Understandably, there are many moving assets and staff during each school day’s routines. David Ramsay is the director of transportation for Howard County Public Schools, which uses a digital platform from Trans- finder. Te Transfinder system is multi-functional, and provides data that drives decisions from the district, for safer and more efficient operations. “When we look at our school bus accidents,” explained Ramsay,


40 School Transportation News • JANUARY 2019


“it’s one thing to just look at the number of accidents that we’ve had, but it’s another thing to look at where these accidents are occurring and specific regions within the county that we should be concerned with.” He said this prompts questions, like if the district should approach stakeholders, such as traffic engineering or the local police department, to focus attention on known accident-prone locations. Sean Slyman is the director of connected services and bus solutions for Navistar, Inc. Navistar’s OnCommand Connection is an add-on feature for new IC Bus vehicles. OnCommand Link, which is a remote diagnostics and monitoring technology feature, is standard for new bus deliveries. Slyman said OnCommand Connection dashboards receive data


from sensors onboard the buses that signal aggressive driver behavior. Such behavior includes rapid acceleration, excessive speeds and other tell-tale signs of unsafe driving practices. Such information is very important, because the labor pool of school bus drivers is tight and incidents of risky driver behavior abound. In Williamson County, Texas, for example, a driver was arrested in fall 2018 for driving a loaded school bus into flooded waters. In Haymarket, Virginia, a 57-year-old bus driver for Prince William County Schools was arrested after she caused a crash that killed a man in another vehicle. Most recently, a school bus driver in Indiana was arrested after she allowed student passengers to drive the bus.


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