With so many safety technologies available, it can be overwhelming for school transportation professionals to choose the best options for their fleet. So, we’ve made it simple by describing what it means to have a Connected Bus and what it can do for your operations.
What’s a Connected Bus?
The Connected School Bus is more than a wireless router with high-speed internet or School Bus Wi-Fi.
The Connected School Bus gives you a future-forward platform that connects your school bus fleet to the back office giving you better oversight on student safety and route operations. It lets you exchange real-time information between all the systems on the school bus and the transportation office for deeper insight, easier management and improved student safety.
A long-time Seon/Safe Fleet customer says it best:
As a Transportation Director, the first thing I think about is a school bus that’s outfitted with technology that allows us to: #1) see inside the school bus, #2) track the bus wherever its going to go, and #3) query the engine to find out what’s happening.
What will you gain with a Connected Bus?
Think of the wireless router as your pipeline to the cloud. You can re-use that same pipe to access data from your video system, GPS, and mobile tablets in real-time. A single connection lets you layer on services to make your school bus safer and your routes more efficient.
Once you have a connected bus you can do things like:
- Track any bus in your fleet instantly from anywhere
- Tap into onboard cameras to stream live video
- Deliver up-to-the-minute, turn-by-turn route changes via a mobile tablet
- Notify parents when the bus will arrive at their child’s stop
- Access student ridership data to respond to incoming calls with accuracy
- Turn your school bus into a mobile classroom
The possibilities are endless! But you don’t have to invest in all these services at once. A connected bus platform lets you start with what you have the budget for now and leverage that investment to add other services in the future.
The Four Pillars of School Bus Connectivity
Connecting your school bus can mean starting with any one of four pillars shown below. Enable all four for a fully connected bus, and you benefit in three key areas – route safety, efficiency, and parent communication:
1. Live Tracking / Parent Notifications
Know where your buses are at all times for increased student safety. Live GPS and routing integration and an App for bus tracking keep parents in-the-know for all things student-transportation-related.
2. Real-Time Video
Respond to crisis situations and manage violations in real-time. In an event or emergency, a secure password-protected video feed can be streamed from anywhere to monitor onboard situations in real-time.
3. Routing & Navigation
Plan, manage and maintain routes that consistently and accurately track to schedule and get students to school on time. Guide drivers through every step of their daily route from start to finish and provide them with routing directions that optimize their efficiency.
4. Vehicle Inspection
Streamline Vehicle Inspections. Automate pre-and post-trip inspections, so fleet managers can track issues as they are flagged, repaired and the vehicles are returned to active service in record time.
What’s the best way to get started?
Here are four tips for a successful Connected Bus implementation:
1. Define your needs
Identify what you want to do now and potentially in the future. Not sure how? Download our School Bus Technology Buyer’s Guide.
2. Involve IT upfront
Get your IT department in the loop right from the get-go. Brief them on your goals, and let them work with the district and your preferred vendor to ensure any privacy, data protection, or networking protocols are covered.
3. Find the right partner
Selecting the right hardware, data provider, and solutions partners is critical to building on your initial Connected Bus investment and can have a big impact on future capabilities. Look for a partner with a proven track record. Ask for references and ensure your partner demonstrates product longevity and software backwards compatibility.
4. Source funding
The good news is there are a lot of grants available at the State and Federal level that you could be eligible for. Learn how to fund your Connected Bus project.
Wireless connectivity is the catalyst to delivering the most comprehensive solutions that deliver a level of safety previously not possible. Safe Fleet is the largest provider of mobile video solutions in North America. We’re the only fleet video provider to fully integrate with electromechanical, telematics, and next-generation smart detection and prevention safety technology. This means we are the only provider to offer in and around bus safety solutions.