5 Ways Tablets Improve Student Safety

Tablets have become increasingly popular in classrooms for enhancing education, but did you know that they can also improve student transportation safety? Here are five ways that tablets with live GPS can help keep students (and drivers) safe while they're on the go.

1. Identification of Student Riders

Tablets equipped with student identification capabilities can help drivers verify the identity of the students boarding their vehicles and whether each student is boarding the correct bus from the correct bus stop. This can be particularly useful for large schools or those with a high volume of student transportation. Drivers can simply scan the QR or barcode on each student's ID card with the tablet's camera, and the system will validate their identity and alert the driver if students are not boarding the correct bus or at the correct stop.

2. Turn-by-Turn Directions

When drivers have to navigate unfamiliar routes or make frequent stops, their attention is often split between the road and their map or GPS device. This can be dangerous, especially in busy areas or during inclement weather. However, tablets equipped with audio-only, turn-by-turn directions can provide drivers with the guidance they need without distracting them visually and keep them compliant with most states' Department of Transportation regulations. This feature can be especially helpful for substitute drivers who may not be familiar with the area and, depending on need, can also provide audio-visual, step-by-step driving directions.

3. Fast Access to Daily Routes

Driver shortages can be a real challenge for districts. Routing software like TransAct's EZRouting eliminates the need for districts to manually determine the most efficient way to consolidate routes and reduces the risk of human error by utilizing intelligent AI technology to suggest the most economical option. Routing software facilitates the removal of stops from routes that are vacant due to driver shortages or shifting student populations, reallocation of stops among remaining routes, and the rapid communication of these changes to drivers.

In addition to providing turn-by-turn directions to drivers, tablets can also help provide easy access to updated routes for drivers. Drivers can quickly access the day's approved routes, eliminating the need to print and reprint paper schedules. This can minimize the potential for accidents and delays, ultimately increasing student safety.

4. Parental Tracking

For parents who worry about their child's safety while they're on the bus, GPS-enabled tablets can provide a valuable tracking feature. Parents can use an associated parent app to set up a geofence (perimeter) around their child's bus stop, which allows them to receive real-time notifications when their child's bus is approaching their designated location. This feature alleviates parents' and guardians' concerns and helps ensure their child is safe and accounted for during their daily commute.

5. Emergency Communication

Finally, tablets can provide a reliable means of emergency communication for both students and drivers. In the event of an accident or other emergency, drivers can use the tablet to quickly send their exact location to emergency services. Conversely, if there is a weather or other type of emergency, the dispatcher can immediately communicate this to the driver and guide them in re-routing.


How EZRouting Makes Student Ridership Safer 

EZRouting by TransAct makes student transportation safer by giving bus drivers control so they know who is boarding the bus, when and at what bus stop. A student information card pops up on the tablet when you scan a student ID tag (tags contain a QR Code) using the barcode scanner option.

These cards only appear when a district uses the barcode scanner purchased through EZRouting, which syncs to the tablets through Bluetooth. The scanners are more accurate than the tablet camera, work in low-light situations, and can stay on for 30 minutes at a time. 

  • If using the tablet camera, an audio alert for “unplanned” and “suspension” prompts the driver instead of the pop-up cards 
  • Otherwise, drivers hold the scanner device over the QR code located on the student tag. A visual alert appears on the tablet when a student boards a bus at an “unplanned” stop or if the student coming on board is under suspension, accompanied by an audio alert 
  • If the student is at an unplanned stop, an orange box appears over the student profile  
  • If the driver encounters a suspended student, a red box overlays the student profile  
  • Tablets now rotate into landscape view as well as portrait mode 
  • Add rider type, driver notes, seat number, and other student information to student information cards 



Other Feature Improvements  

  • Better turn-by-turn voice navigation  
  • Add fast forward and fast backward buttons to simulate trips 
  • Allow zooming in and out on the map while navigating 
  • Disable the tablet back arrow to avoid exiting a trip navigation by mistake 
  • Dropoff All function for trips with multiple school stops 
  • Update live GPS location every five seconds 
  • Skip bus-depot stops to avoid unnecessary rerouting. Guides the user to the first non-depot stop by default 
  • Add the “previous stop” button to navigate to the previous stop when running a trip 

Schedule a demonstration with a TransAct team member for more information about student check-in and check-out with tablets or improving bus route planning in your district.   


The Benefits of Tablets and Improved Student Safety 

In conclusion, tablets offer a variety of features that can help improve student safety during transportation. By providing identification verification, audio-only turn-by-turn directions, easy access to updated routes, parental tracking, and emergency communications, tablets can help ensure that students are safe, secure, and accounted for during their daily trips. With the right technology and systems in place, tablets can be a valuable tool for enhancing student safety and peace of mind for parents and district staff alike.


About TransAct

At TransAct, we believe parent communication is essential to efficient student transportation. Parents' expectations for clear, timely communication from their children's schools have never been higher than they are now. That's why we built EZRouting software to help districts streamline parent communication, improve their efficiency, and more easily and safely manage today's student transportation challenges.

Is your current bus routing system making it easier for you to alleviate safety concerns? If you'd like to learn more about how EZRouting can save you time, effort, and money, please schedule a quick conversation with our team below.