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“There are several other components that we have


become very dependent on,” Benson said. “Our techni- cians and shop supervisors can get diagnostic data on our buses before we even begin our day to get an idea of what buses might have some issues.” Chesapeake also uses Zonar’s Fault IQ for additional bus health data, leading to more proactive and less costly mitigation of major issues. The transportation depart- ment relies on Zonar to draw zones around bus stops to run schedule reports. This ensures the bus is meeting those stops as designed. It provides first-hand data to help address any issues that arise, such as community complaints about buses. For instance, “citizens thinking the bus is speeding through the area may be just hearing the pitch and the sound of a diesel vehicle rolling through there,” Benson shared. Chesapeake recently added


BusPatrol to its 591 buses. The bus-mounted cameras capture incidents involving vehicles ille- gally passing the bus. Although the program doesn’t communicate with Zonar, it adds value in other ways, he explained. It captures license plate data needed to issue a stop arm violation. The captured video goes through law enforcement for a violation determination. The con- firmation is sent back to BusPatrol, with violations mailed to the driver. The program’s financing is 100 per- cent citation-driven. “In addition to getting better data and making our bus stops safer, we benefit because we can also log into our buses live and see what’s happening around the bus perim- eter through the three cameras inside the bus and four cameras on the exterior,” he added. That’s helpful when a bus is involved in an accident,


Meanwhile, Kris Hafezizadeh is the executive direc-


tor of transportation and vehicle services for Austin Independent School District in Texas, where 548 buses transport up to 22,000 students. “We use our digital cameras inside the buses to track and monitor student and employee behavior,” he said, adding that drivers use the district’s own software. All buses have a front view camera system which in cases of incidents or accidents helps determine fault for insurance and liability purposes, he said. “We use AngelTrax and are able to pull the hard drive as needed to address the issue,” Hafezizadeh explained. “We have live GPS on all of our buses from TripSpark to see how fast the buses go, if they have made their actual stop or are scheduled to stop.” The district also uses Trapeze’s


of respondents say that


87%


interoperability between different software is


important to their operations.


(Out of 86 respondents to a recent STN reader survey.)


TripSpark for routing and apps. “It makes it easy to have a one-


stop shop to do everything,” noted Hafezizadeh, adding the tool enables schedulers to create routes overnight and update everything without any interoperability challenges. “It also can track idling time of the


buses,” he shared. “We don’t have time to sit in front of the screen and track every single vehicle, but it can generate reports for us for speed and idling. Or if a parent calls us to say the bus didn’t make its stop, we can go in there and see where the bus is because as soon as they open the door, that GPS triggers that they made the stop.” Parents use the Where’s The Bus


app to see the estimated arrival time of a bus. TripSpark also enables parents to view buses arriving to the


Benson relayed. It enables transportation administra- tors to see what’s going on inside the bus and relay information to police and EMS as they are dispatching to the scene. Chesapeake bus drivers also have tablets, which not only track pre- and post-trip inspections, but connect to the Kronos payroll system to collect time and attendance data.


schools rather than to place multiple calls to the trans- portation department. This school year, Hafezizadeh said he is adding tablets to the buses that transport special education students, which provides student pick-up and navigation information. Proprietary software can make it seem like the com-


pany owns the data rather than the school district, bolstering the argument for interoperability. “There’s always been this theory of who owns the data,” said Antonio Civitella, Transfinder president and


34 School Transportation News • SEPTEMBER 2021


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