Technology Super Users

tablet, and it’s become very seamless, so it’s im- proved our efficiency dramatically,” he shared. “It’s also improved the ability for us to manage where our kids are in terms of contact tracing, as that’s become a more important piece of what we deal with on a daily basis.” Plus, the tablets allow for attachments such as bus write ups to be added to a student’s file. It also helps share pertinent rider information when transporting students with special needs and disabilities. Sunderland added that the tablets are driver specific as opposed to bus specific, so drivers can communicate direcdtly with the main transportation hub. At the start of each day, drivers sign in using a

unique ID code, then they have access to the tablet for pre-and post-trip inspections as well the route information and the message dashboard. “I think there’s a lot of positive things for us that this [technology] provides. And again, you know, Tyler’s been around a long time. This Traversa piece is really just starting to grow,” Sunderland said. “I have no doubt it’s going to get better. I appreciate the fact that they let me, to a great extent, give them feedback, give input into things, and they’ll bounce ideas off of me because we deal with [high mileage high school sports trips] that an elementary or mid- dle school person doesn’t have to deal with.” What really drove the need for tablet technology, was the changes in his routing process. The dis- trict started using Traversa routing software from Tyler Technologies two years ago. Prior to this school year, he said, school bus drivers would run their routes and sometimes out-of-district stu- dents would get on the school bus as well as kids staying at grandma’s or a friend’s house , without notification to the transportation department. Chaffey Joint Union High School District only supports high school students but is surround- ed by elementary and junior high schools, so he said while it doesn’t happen often, some of those students have found their way onto his routes and school buses. Now, his 33 routes are only doing one stop each, with the exception of one bus route, and only the kids assigned to the route can enter the bus. “In the past, we’ve had stops in areas where

we’ve had minimal ridership, and it’s just because those communities are growing and getting older as a whole, that the kids don’t necessarily need transportation or they’ve moved to another area,” he explained. “The technology helps us keep up

58 School Transportation News • SEPTEMBER 2021

Puya Goudarzi Operations Quality Control Analyst

Atlanta Public Schools

What opportunities has technology brought to the forefront of your operations? “I have worked to establish a great deal

of data interfaces using both Tableau, SQL. I also work daily with Excel and exporting GPS/ AVL bus tracking application data called Here Comes The Bus by Synovia. My expertise is download data, aggregate it and then find meaningful platforms to help our leadership team utilize [it] to improve service for our students. One of my most proud reflections of how data has benefited the department is with pre-trip and post-trip inspection data. APS transportation launched the electronic pre- and post-trip process in August 2020. The com- pletion numbers were dismal at launch and there was no clear way to track those numbers. However, by May I implanted a data-driven solution to capture real-time completion rates. This eventually resulted in 100 percent comple- tion rates; which was a huge milestone for the department and students’ transport safety. Additionally, I assist our field trip department

in creating an application to access SQL data to produce reports. Using Tableau and SQL, I have created an on-time arrival performance dash- board. This dashboard assists our routing and planning team with making smart and effective decisions which cuts down on extra labor time. I am also working on improving our Enterprise

Asset Management software, Fleet Focus and Fuel Focus by AssetWorks to help produce cost savings within operations and fleet services. Ultimately, I realize that the data I provide helps the department provide a better service to its customers, our students.”

Technology Used: • GPS/GIS/Vehicle Tracking

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