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Working in Unison


Technology now available to student transporters is only as good as its ability to play nicely with other solutions being utilized


Written By Carol Brzozowski T


he internet of things (IoT) have brought both opportunities and chal- lenges to school transportation. At best, different solutions work together to help student transportation operations ensure timely and efficient culling of data and Key Performance Indicators (KPI) signifi-


cant to planning, budgeting and meeting expectations. Many districts prefer one solution from one company for functions such as GPS and routing, while preferring a different solution for other purposes. In some cases, there is no interoperability among proprietary technology. That has led to a trend of some tech companies engaging partners—including their fiercest com- petitors—to develop a marketplace of compatible solutions. GP Singh is the founder of Bytecurve, a platform for operating and managing school bus scheduling, dispatch and time management. While cameras and radio devices were the only technology on a school bus 10 years ago, “now buses have GPS, Wi-Fi, motion-based cameras, pre-trip inspection devices, tire check devices, tablets, student tracking—you name it,” Singh pointed out. “All of these devices are being added for the right reasons. Still, the driver’s job is to get the kids safely from home to school,” he observed. While increased use of IoT helps track data, it also increases the workload for transportation operators, said Singh. Transportation departments “don’t have the bandwidth, budgets, experience or


the resources to do something internally to bring all of the technology together,” he pointed out. “Vendors should be held accountable and take responsibility not only for providing the devices to be on the buses, but to make it meaningful for the end user to use the data from all of these places to help make operations safer, efficient and get students to school on time.” David Benson, director of student transportation for Chesapeake Public Schools


in Virginia, said his district utilizes Zonar for a multitude of daily operational tasks, mainly for GPS.


32 School Transportation News • SEPTEMBER 2021


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