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with serious competition for every dollar. While plenty of arguments might be made in support of newer buses, perhaps nothing trumps the potential for enhanced safety offered by the latest technology features. From collision avoidance to the evolving use cases of artificial intelligence (AI) in connect- ing vehicles, the latest bus technology features offer options for protecting students like never before. In fact, some of the developments seem almost too futuristic to be true. But they are. That’s the case with a groundbreaking project


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now under way in Alpharetta, Georgia, an At- lanta suburb served by Fulton County Schools, a 90,000-student district. In a innovative demon- stration of emerging technology, one of the district’s 930 buses is now equipped to test out a system making use of cellular vehicle-to-every- thing (C-V2X) technology to help reduce vehicle hazards faced by school children. While other revolutionary solutions focus on


providing alerts to school bus drivers or students, this system instead targets motorists approaching school zones or buses in transit. C-V2X incorpo- rates several key elements. First, roadside units mounted in school zone speed-limit signs trans- mit signals that when received by a connected automobile, trigger an auditory and visual alert to warn motorists they are entering an active school zone. In the process, approaching motorists are given precious time to reduce their speed. Alerts are also triggered by the deployment


of stop arms to warn oncoming traffic that children may be boarding or exiting a school bus. Those alerts can be especially import- ant when motorist visibility is limited by hills, curves or other external road factors. The new technology has impressed Trey


Stow, Fulton County’s director of transportation operations, who said he is most worried by the frequency of drivers failing to stop for buses. “I’m not concerned about our students once


we get them on the bus,” Stow said, emphasiz- ing that the school bus is the safest mode of transportation for schoolchildren. “Our problem is getting students on and off the bus—that’s where this technology comes into play.” Along with the innovative approach to pro-


www.stnonline.com 31


t any given time, the decision to purchase new buses may not be an easy one. After all, school districts need many resources, often met


PHOTO COURTESY OF AUDI OF AMERICA, INC.


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