Route Optimization Software for Safe Student Transportation

Route optimization software helps Transportation Departments plan their routes more effectively and efficiently, potentially reducing annual costs by $500,000. And although saving time and money are major incentives when choosing a software system, finding a solution that can assist with safe student transportation is a top priority for school districts.
With TravelTracker–Routing (TT–R), students can easily scan on and off the bus, assuring parents and staff of their location. School bus drivers can also reroute buses due to emergencies and select a safer route. The system was built with safe student transportation in mind, which is why over 75 districts nationwide use TT–R as their preferred routing software.  

For context, TT–R is a cloud-based route optimization software with numerous features that help school districts safely and effectively transport students.  

Before we dive into the benefits of TravelTracker–Routing and why a combined solution is the most effective way to ensure safe student transportation and save on costs, let’s explore the basics of route optimization software. 

 

What Is Route Optimization Software? 

For those unaware, route optimization software—for fleet-based school districts—supports scheduling and routing decisions by generating the most optimal route for any number of school buses.  

All school districts can benefit from routing software. The more optimized your route, the less time school bus drivers spend on the road, and the more money schools save (in fuel and labor costs). 

The level of sophistication you need from your route optimization software varies. While some school districts are more interested in tablets with turn-by-turn directions, others are looking for a system that includes live video feed of their buses. Being able to see what's happening on each bus at any given time is essential if safe student transportation is your top priority.   

 

Using TravelTracker–Routing as Your Preferred Route Optimization Software 

TT–R provides over 75 districts with the tools to determine and communicate the most fuel-efficient bus routes. This leads to cost savings and ensures administrators, faculty, and parents have the most up-to-date information. The cloud-based solution also equips staff with the resources needed to manage bus fleets and streamline operations on a centralized platform.    

Route optimization software systems like TravelTracker-Routing enable simple, automated communication with parents. Through the Parent Portal, transportation staff can reach parents faster to explain:  

  • Any potential changes to the bus schedule 
  • New or modified routes 
  • Why a new or different driver picks up their student 

 

Useful TravelTracker–Routing Features: 

  • Route consolidation: update the system of a missing driver and other drivers will be disbursed to the area. 
  • Auto-generate routes: build the most efficient bus routes (i.e., avoiding route hazards or designating the fastest course possible). 
  • Online parent portal: allow parents to register their child and access updated information, such as an address or fluctuating schedules. 
  • Calendar-based scheduling: empower staff with flexibility in pick-up and drop-off locations with a few clicks of a button. 
  • Driver bidding: allow drivers to electronically bid on trips for upcoming bid periods. 
  • Auto-generated board reports: increase compliance thanks to auto-generated board reports and gain more control over bus routes with all-inclusive data collection. 
  • Tablets: enable administration to create new routes, check-in and check-out students, and more. 

Although TravelTracker–Routing has many valuable features and resources, it does not include live video feed and bus intercoms. This is where Transportation Departments can benefit from a combination of two systems, in particular, TT-R with Transportant.

How TravelTracker–Routing and Transportant Provide an Integrated Solution 

Transportant, a transportation management software provider, works with hundreds of schools across the USA. The Kansas-based company offers a complete suite of student safety products for schools, including: 

  • High-definition cameras 
  • GPS fleet management 
  • Turn-by-turn directions 
  • Student ridership 
  • Reporting 

Notably, routing software is not included in Transportant’s suite of products. Routes—an essential component of Transportation—must be manually entered or connected through an API (application programming interface) to an existing routing software. This is where Travel Tracker – Routing comes into play.  

Screen Shot 2022-11-23 at 12.35.51 PM

TT–R is a critical factor in providing a fully integrated solution to Transportation Departments. All the information related to routes, like individual stop times, can be imported straight from TravelTracker. 

 

How Does Transportant Integrate with TravelTracker’s Routing Optimization Software?   

Since both Transportant and TravelTracker integrate with the SIS system, users can easily sync information between the two systems. There is a unique interface for both Transportant and TravelTracker, so customers must work between different dashboards.  

A Transportation Director, for instance, can build routes within the TravelTracker system and then integrate and review the planned routes within the Transportant application.  

Users may not see an update with a competitive product until the end of the day or a couple of days, depending on their configured system settings. With TravelTracker, it’s much more frequent. When drivers shut the bus down and start it back up again, it will have the most up-to-date information. 

Read the guide to learn how the Transportant and TravelTracker–Routing integration works from a customer’s perspective (images included). 

 
The Cost and Labor-Saving Benefits of a Fully Integrated Solution 

The districts that use both systems can plan their routes in TravelTracker and monitor live bus routes in Transportant. With a fully integrated solution, users can create more efficient routes, therefore saving fuel cost saving, labor hours, and more. 

The other huge savings users experience with Transportant is due to the state of the cameras. The live-feed cameras provide remote video access, and the recordings are stored in a cloud-based system. With most buses, you must physically pull the video from the bus via hard drive or a flash drive. So, customers don't have to use those labor hours to retrieve the videos from the buses.  
 

How Transportant’s Video Cameras Provide Safe Student Transportation 

Suppose an incident happens on the bus at 1:20 PM, for example. In that case, users can view the camera feed in the Transportant system immediately, or they'll receive a notification at 1:30 PM. So they can view the live feed at 1:30 PM, even while the bus is running, and fast forward, replay; whatever is needed.    

There's a huge benefit to viewing the live video feed versus only accessing the cameras once the bus finishes its route. If a bus is driving three routes in the afternoon, staff may have to wait to find out what's happening, whether that's just a disruptive kid or an intruder. Buses are very vulnerable, and even with all the safety plans schools have, it's not the same for their buses. 

Since Transportant provides a live video of the full route built in TravelTracker, you can see what’s happening in real time. And every time there’s a student swipe event, such as boarding or leaving the bus, Transportant takes a still frame from the video and includes that in the event's metadata.  

So, if somebody calls the school and says, "Samantha didn't get off the bus today," you can easily search for those records. You don't have to watch the video; that takes more time. You immediately see the still images of Samantha, who got off at this other stop with a friend. You can see that within 10 seconds of typing in her name. So, it gives you a lot more real-time information and makes things visual. 

With the Parent Portal, staff can send notifications to parents when students get on and off the bus. Parents also have the exact time and GPS coordinates of the bus their child is riding. 

Download the guide study to learn about real-time data feedback between the two systems and how high-fidelity data export and import works. 

 

Saving Money by Eliminating or Combining Unnecessary Routes 

A lot of school systems have utilized the real-time insights that come from Transportant. For instance, “this route seems slower than it should be. Let me watch the live feed and correspond between what’s planned in Travel Tracker versus what I’m actually seeing.” This comparison can help schools eliminate or combine unnecessary routes. 

"In one example, a school system was able to eliminate nine buses out of 90,” states Alan Fairless, Co-Founder and CTO at Transportant. “So, nine buses, nine drivers, nine routes, aren’t driving anymore, which is a big deal to their hiring demands. It reduced their annual costs by roughly $500,000. So, it’s a big improvement in efficiency.” 

Schedule a demonstration to see if TravelTracker-Routing is the right routing software for your Transportation Department.