Which is why last week in Prince County, Maryland, a local school board voted and approved to upgrade the school system’s fleet of buses with new GPS tracking systems.
The new GPS tracking system will provide several benefits to the school bus fleet. In addition to being able to guide drivers who have gotten lost, the system will be able to track if a bus is speeding and send e-mail updates. Previously, the only way to know would be to do radar checks or rely on complaints. The system can also monitor bus driving patterns to make sure drivers operate their vehicles efficiently, eliminating unnecessary idling, observing speed limits and not taking detours.
The tracking system can also check the travel history of a bus. This feature can be used to help determine if a bus missed its stop. Additionally, they can relay to parents the location of a bus if needed.
The tracking system also has means of relaying various kinds of diagnostic data to operators. It can notify the district’s chief mechanic if a bus’ battery has died and check how long a specific bus has been left idling. It can even tell if the bus has been subject to harsh braking and rapid acceleration.
Installation of the new tracking systems should be complete by the end of December. The school board is hoping to have over half of the tracking systems in place by October. “We’ve got about a hundred buses, so it takes a while to do that. We don’t have a crew of 200 to install [them], so this will be a process that’s ongoing for the next month or so,” said School Board Chairman Roger Franklin.
GPS tracking technology brings a number of measurable cost efficiencies. According to a recent study from CTrack in the UK, the most important cost savings are the average reduction of fuel usage by 8.6 percent, overtime claims by 15.3 percent and communications overheads by 13.3 percent.