School administrators must sometimes make their transportation departments more efficient to save money and meet budget cuts; other times, they decide to improve efficiency, so they can put money into other areas. For example, when school bus transportation staff use GPS and routing software to create better routes, schools have more money for other transportation-related services such as field trips. Beyond the transportation department, additional savings can go into salaries, school supplies, nutrition services, school playgrounds and technology.

Beyond the savings, these three benefits stem from an efficient and optimized school transportation routing schedule:

Route Optimization: GPS and routing software run by fleet telematics companies can help school districts pinpoint the areas where routes need to be optimized. Data from SafeStop Analytics has found that about 7 percent of school bus stops are unused, which can affect the student rider statistics used to create bus routes. When school districts change bell times or bus routes, the GPS data also allows officials to understand how new routines are working, as a Rhode Island district did in 2016.

Fuel Economy: When routes run smoothly, school buses save on gas. At the same time, analytics software can help transportation departments reduce idling time. For instance, the average school bus idles for more than 20 minutes per day. In a fleet with 100 buses, this could save $20,000 annually on diesel fuel alone. Failing to capitalize on the technology-related cost-savings could lead to poor fuel purchasing decisions and hindered fleet planning. In contrast, tracking fuel and idle times on a regular basis can help districts adjust their routes in small increments, often frequently and nimbly rather than once a semester.

Improved Performance: Analytics platforms such as SafeStop Analytics allow school districts to track other Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) such as on-time performance and customer service phone calls. School bus apps that allow staff and parents to track pick-ups and drop-offs can reduce calls by up to 90 percent, SafeStop has reported. As inclement weather and cold temperatures affect an area, the company sees an increase in users who download the SafeStop App so they can easily access the latest updates and alerts sent by school districts.

Don’t want to get left out in the cold? Request a demo today and see how SafeStop can help your school district.