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SPECIAL REPORT


Thayer adds, “I honestly do not know how a 360-degree camera would work outside a bus. Did I miss something? Is this for inside to monitor children in the seat? I would agree to more cameras inside and even a 360-degree concept, but I don’t see how it would work outside.” For Bryan West, transportation director at North Clay CUSD #25 in Louisville, Illinois, said he is unsure if most districts are aware of the 360-degree camera’s capabili- ties. “I’m not sure I am,” he admitted. He also acknowledged that a lack of budgetary dollars


for new technology is an ever-present factor in any pur- chase. But if it can be proven that in the long run, “we are going to save lives or money with such technology, then it would ease the cost concern,” West added. Benoit Bourgault, general manager of Student Transpor-


tation Services of Waterloo Region in Kitchener, Canada, said school bus contractors are one avenue that districts can use to implement 360-cameras. “In our last RFP, we promoted innovation. Specifically, we were encouraging alternative fuel to improve emissions. One proponent suggested using 360-degree vision to assist drivers with the safety of students. Part of their fleet purchase included


propane buses or 360-degree vision,” he explained. The reaction was notable, Bourgault commented, that


while the district’s senior drivers expressed little initial interest in 360-degree cameras, the newer drivers were “more open. Yet the operators were reluctant to give new buses to rookies, while the tenured drivers were not given new buses,” he said. Going forward, Bourgault said he thinks that his dis-


trict and the industry, in general, needs to “continue to push for evolution. The school bus on the road today is essentially the same as what I rode 40 years ago, while my personal vehicle is a world apart,” he said. West concluded that he prefers to implement tech-


nology after others have proven its viability. “I think this is a good practice that will often save time, money and anguish, for myself and the district,” he added. “However, I have been known to go it alone or be an early adopter of effective technology. For example, with my research and pressing, my district was the first in the State of Illi- nois to purchase the new LPI propane buses. We are still purchasing them after seven years of service.” ●


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www.ALCSchools.com See Us At Booth #1005 32 School Transportation News • MAY 2019


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