Is it time to modernize your bus routing software?

Some say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day...” but if the 2020-2021 school year taught us anything, it is circumstances can change quickly and adapting to change requires the right tools.

While a map and Google Sheets were considered standard route management practices in the past; transportation departments have learned that they do not enable transportation managers to make changes quickly and easily. Likewise, dated, server-based routing systems caused challenges with work-from-home requirements. As the pandemic wanes, district administrators are left with the question of how the “new normal” will impact transportation moving forward. 

Whether it is natural disasters or another rapidly shifting scenario in the future, districts are grappling with what it means to operate in a virtual or hybrid environment.

With a live customer service team, App-Garden had the unique opportunity to observe how district administrators responded to the pandemic with flexibility, ingenuity, and perseverance. With every challenge placed in districts’ paths, they were quick to respond, with student safety always in mind.

School districts with modern, cloud-based services were able to organize and distribute resources to their communities more rapidly. Here are five questions to ask yourself to evaluate if your current process meets the challenges your district faces in a remote or hybrid environment.

Does your process allow for flexible scheduling?

Districts nationwide are working to lower the number of students in schools per day for proper social distancing, both in the classroom and on the bus. Does your current system allow you to easily set up different routes for cohorts A and B? Can you easily provide your drivers with route sheets for the different days?

Can you easily communicate changes to parents, guardians, drivers, and administration?

With the constant changes of this past year, communication has been brought to the forefront for transportation staff. Being able to easily notify parents of schedule changes or updated route times within your routing portal can save hundreds of hours of staff time. Have you ever had to remove or add a student to a route and then send communication either by phone or email to each student who had a schedule change? How much time has this taken from your day? If you could have an automated process that sends templated emails to parents and guardians, how much time would this save you?

Can you consolidate drivers on the fly when there is a driver shortage?

In recent years there has been a surge of driver shortages. Driver shortages are a reality that every transportation department must deal with. COVID has made this even more difficult to deal with. When you just do not have enough drivers to fill your routes, are you able to consolidate routes on the fly for a day or range of dates, providing route sheets and maps for the consolidated route?

Does your system allow you to easily conduct COVID tracing?

A hot topic this year has been the issue of proper contact tracing on the bus. If you are informed of a child being COVID positive, are you able to determine with whom they may have come in contact on the bus?

Can you set occupancy levels for your buses?

Social distancing has called for districts to decrease the number of students on the bus. Are you able to set up occupancy levels for your bus based on current requirements and adjust or automatically generate routes using these capacities?

These are just some of the questions you may be asking yourself! Did you find yourself answering no to many of these questions? Check out our Travel Tracker Routing software, an intelligent routing software built to help districts make better decisions and maneuver through the many challenges of today.

Our ebook "Using Federal Funds to Address Challenges and Solutions for Transportation Departments" is an excellent resource, touching on how departments can fund new technology purchases with three different COVID relief packages.

Download the eBook

App-Garden's Travel Tracker routing software provides school districts throughout North America with the flexibility to quickly modify bus schedules, change routes, or bus stops, and communicate with parents.

Schedule a demonstration to see how Travel Tracker helps transportation departments anticipate change and lessen staff administrative burden.