- The software provider Tyler Technologies is partnering with First Student, a top bus fleet serving schools in North America, to test if tablet-enabled school buses improve student transportation services, according to a press release.
- The Tyler Drive in-vehicle tablet will integrate with First Student’s back-end systems to connect GPS data, payroll information, routes, drivers and other vehicles. It was developed as part of a pilot program to improve service, efficiency and safety.
- After the drivers in the seven pilot districts are trained and onboarded on the new technology, Tyler Technologies says it hopes to expand over the next two years to most of the 42,000 First Student buses that serve roughly 1,100 school districts.
To address safety and efficiency concerns that come with student transportation, school districts are exploring several trends that can make school buses more secure and the time spent on them more productive.
Computer technology is allowing districts to use advanced algorithms and software to compute the most efficient routes for school bus drivers. But to get the most effective use of these programs, districts may need to adjust some policies and become more creative with school start and end times.
The use of electric buses, which are designed to improve the environment and reduce costs, is also growing. In some cases, these buses can also be used to store solar and wind energy that is added to the electric grid when the buses are not in use.
Student badge systems are also gaining in popularity. These badges can be used as students enter and exit school buses, allow school officials to track students and their attendance, and improve communication with parents who want to ensure the safety of their children.
Some school buses that are WiFi-enabled are also becoming mobile study halls. As more students use computers and tablets to complete schoolwork, the use of WiFi allows them to make the best use of their time, especially as some students do not have internet access at home or have long bus rides. Students often are also better behaved on buses that have WiFi because they remain occupied.