Salem-Keizer School District 24J in Oregon's capital region is in the final stages of completing a contract to implement GPS solutions on its school buses.
Michael Shields, the district's director of transportation and auxiliary services, told STN that the vendor, which has yet be made public because the contract is still under final review, will install Wi-Fi on the buses to allow drivers to use Android tablets to access real-time routing data, complete with audio directions.
"Our routes are already pretty tight, and here's an opportunity to tighten up even more," said Shields, adding that the technology will be especially useful for substitute drivers.
One of the stipulations is that the tablets can't be operable when the vehicles are in motion, Shields added.
Shields said the GPS reports will also provide data for student tracking, with a bar-code student ID pilot program for high school students in the works, as well as for vehicle location and performance, arrival and departure time, idling, engine diagnostics and driver behavior. The next phase of the project could include the ability for drivers to enter their hours and transmit them directly to payroll using the tablet.
He noted that once the district completes its review of the agreement that it will finalize a work schedule and project management plan.
The district operates a fleet of 270 school buses.