When one thinks of modern, tech-savvy vehicles, school buses might not be their first thought. But while they are navigating the roads transporting kids to and from school, buses have transformed into modern vehicles.
Using new technology, school buses travel from stop-to-stop using the latest devices to increase safety, improve student experiences and add efficiencies.
Take a look below at some of the most recent advances in school-bus technology.
Today’s classrooms are interactive, with more schools providing students with tablets and laptops. Now school buses are becoming connected as well, as some vehicles are providing Wi-Fi. This allows kids to work on homework while on the bus. According to the American School Bus Council, in all, U.S. students spend an estimated 520 million school days on buses each year. That’s a lot of time for kids to complete homework or study.
Providing Wi-Fi also benefits kids who don’t have an internet connection at home. Using Wi-Fi on the bus allows those students to complete any homework that requires internet access.
One of the major safety problems school buses encounter is drivers ignoring the stop-arms and illegally passing vehicles. This poses a huge safety risk for children when they are getting on and off the bus. One solution to combat this problem is to install stop-arm cameras. According to BusBoss.com, these devices work like stoplight cameras. If a vehicle tries to pass a bus with its stop-arm out, the camera takes a photo of the vehicle’s license plate. Fines are then mailed to the drivers. The severity of the fines vary by city and state.
An issue school bus fleets never want to experience is having a child left on a school bus. While there are safety measures in place to prevent this problem, they aren’t always 100 percent effective. Now technology can assist drivers through motion detectors. EDGE3 Technologies has developed an Ambient Sensing Node (ASN) to detect any movement (including a heartbeat or breathing) in a vehicle. According to SchoolBusFleet.com, if the ASN device detects a child on the bus after it has been parked it will alert the driver and fleet operator. This allows personnel to safely retrieve the child.
Enhanced GPS and Telematics Capabilities
New advances in GPS and telematics technology allows fleets to track bus routes and driver behaviors. Operations can view routes, avoid danger zones and congestion, and re-route if needed. This helps operations get students to school on-time, and also saves fleets money on fuel.
Fleets can also track driver behaviors. Zonar Systems offers tools that allow fleets to quickly find buses, and also get alerts if a school bus needs maintenance, or if the driver isn’t operating the vehicle safely. Zonar’s tools allow operations to track speed, idling and routes.
Many schools require kids to wear ID badges, and for some, the school bus is no different. New technology allows students’ locations to be tracked through identification cards.
Zonar Systems has created a Z-Pass, which requires kids to scan their badge when they enter and exit the bus. This action logs the time, date and location of each scan. A student’s whereabouts can then be tracked through Zonar’s Ground Traffic Control application.
This system helped locate a Spokane, Wash., student last spring. When an 8-year-old student got on the wrong bus, the school district was able to log into the Zonar application and help locate the child.
Another company, ScholarChip, provides ID cards with computer chips to students. Kids can use these cards to check in and out of the bus so their location can be tracked. These cards can also be used in other areas of the school, like the cafeteria and library, according to SchoolTransportationNews.com.
To learn how RTA Fleet Management Software can integrate with the latest school bus technology, request a demo today.