Transfinder won Best Hardware and Best Software for its tablets and Routefinder Plus, respectively, while the BYD/RIDE Type A school bus “Achiever” won Best Green Bus Technology, and the Zonar Inspection Builder took home the Best Safety Technology award at the 30th STN EXPO Reno.
Over 16 percent of the 520 non-vendor conference and trade show attendees from school districts and bus companies cast electronic votes for the third-annual Innovation Choice Awards from July 16-20. Eighty-five official votes were tallied and validated by STN staff after duplicates and non-eligible voters were removed.
Transfinder President and CEO Antonio Civitella said the company launched its own brand of the Samsung Tab Active 4 Pro Telematics Tablet with RFID reader for student tracking. The Transfinder Telematics Tablet is easily removed from its mount and is ruggedized with an IP68 rating to overcome wind, dust, liquid, droplets, and extreme weather and pressure changes. It integrates with Wayfinder to display turn-by-turn directions for drivers and track student attendance as they scan onto the bus.
“We had a first-ever One Partner, One Solution demonstration [in Reno],” explained John Daniels, vice president of marketing for Transfinder. “We had Routefinder PLUS integration to the Wayfinder Driver App on our tablet, with a reader and example RAM mount, and Stopfinder Parent App all working together to show a real-life example. We were also using CI Solutions cards for attendees to scan and see attendance/student ridership in action.”
Daniels added a similar trade show experience is planned for TSD Conference attendees this fall.
Transfinder also won the Best Software category for the second consecutive year, this time solely for Routefinder PLUS, which was part of a “trifecta” of solutions recognized in 2022. The fully customizable solution allows student transporters to collect and manage data about student riders, including stops, routes, field trips, and assigned drivers and vehicles. The company stated Routefinder PLUS “bakes” all district policies into the routing system to ensure compliance with rules and regulations. It includes artificial intelligence optimization to “learn” with each created stop, allowing for safe route creation, automatic stop assignments, and a custom report writer.
The software includes FormFinder to manage payroll and student behavior issues, and ChatFinder for messaging among staff.
Meanwhile, the BYD/RIDE Achiever Type-A electric school bus that was unveiled at STN EXPO Reno last summer won the Best Green Technology product. The bus, available up to 26.7 feet in length, claims a range of 105 miles on a full charge at 110 kW for DC fast charging or 19.2 kW for AC Level 2 charging. The V2G-capable bus also focuses on additional safety features such as electronic stability control, collision mitigation software, and anti-bullying seats.
Attendees voted the Zonar Inspection Builder as the Best Safety Technology solution. The company, which revolutionized school bus inspections two decades ago with its EVIR verification tool, released Inspection Builder in March to allow customization within EVIR Mobile for standardizing and verifying all inspections for all types of vehicles in a fleet. It tailors inspection requirements to meet specific organizational needs and complies with Department of Transportation and Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements for standard pre- and post-trip inspections. Inspection Builder allows for editing existing inspections or creating new ones in as much detail as is needed.
It also includes a patented Map View feature to ease driver onboarding and workflows, the ability to modify protocols for inspection tags, and more. Inspection Builder integrates with Zonar Ground Traffic Control.
Zonar won a 2022 Innovation Choice Award for the Best Green Technology for its EVIR EV Configuration.
“STN EXPO attendees voted, and the best innovations won,” said Tony Corpin, publisher and president of School Transportation News. “I want to congratulate Zonar, BYD/Ride and Transfinder on winning 2023 Innovation Choice Awards. The newest products and innovations have captured the attention of school transportation professionals at the largest school transportation conference in North America with over 1,400 participants in attendance.”
To be eligible for an award, STN EXPO exhibitors had to submit innovation for a product, solution or vehicle brought to market over the past 18 months.
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