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The school bus system belongs to a segment of the transportation sector that is large, outdated, and underfunded. Experts revealed they have twice the number of buses serving commuters on a daily basis. It is so outdated, that almost all the buses run on diesel, and came into service before 2007, before the implementation of stricter emissions standards.

Outdated Buses

Cameras are also useful in monitoring the behavior of the passengers. The camera records everything that happens on the bus, including bullying and other problems. This leaves the driver better able to focus on driving.

The school bus system offers a big potential for change due to its use of outdated vehicles. However, it lacks the financial resources to acquire new vehicles and new technology. The irony is that the losses due to the use of outdated vehicles could fund new buses with newer technologies.

For instance, in using propane instead of diesel, a fleet could save up to 50% in fuel costs and eliminate tons of greenhouse gases annually. Using electric buses, a school district can save up to $6,000 per seat, equivalent to $230,000 over its lifetime. Another advantage of switching from diesel fuel is the lessened health risk of school children. Studies show that the exposure to lower air pollution leads to less absenteeism.

GPS-Enabled Tracking

Kids getting on a school bus.

One other technology that helps with security is a Global Positioning System (GPS) navigator, a GPS app, or a built-in version. Both the school and students’ parents can track a GPS-enabled vehicle. GPS, coupled with a badge using radio-frequency identification (RFID) for kids’ bags, allows the driver to know when all the children are on the bus. Parents can also know when their kids are in school or back at home. A more efficient roadmap to fetch and return school children is possible with the data gathered from vehicle GPS and children’s RFID.

Safety, security, and savings are the main benefits of an updated system. While private enterprises are moving with driverless vehicles and automated systems, buses are still stuck in a technology rut. The technology is there, but there is no incentive to innovate or use new tech. One way of thinking is not to spend money if the buses can still do their jobs, which are to bring the kids to school and then take them back to their respective homes.

Monitoring Cameras and Other Tech

Monitoring cameras have a big potential for school bus use, and can create a bold impact on security and safety concerns. When a bus stops, cameras capture the vehicular traffic in the area. In case of accidents, the video is reviewed to analyze and understand what happened. The camera can also capture the plate number of a vehicle speeding near a school bus.

Cameras are also useful in monitoring the behavior of the passengers. The camera records everything that happens on the bus, including bullying and other problems. This leaves the driver better able to focus on driving.

Tech can also help school buses during inclement weather. Snow is a big concern in areas with harsh winters. Chain tires on buses should be automatically employed when there’s heavy snow. At the same time, tracking apps can help locate and monitor a bus’s location. Any parent or school official can see on their smartphone the location of the vehicle.

For most schools, the problem is funding. Dealing with a system that is already underfunded for most programs, finding money to buy new buses is a challenge. There are plenty of government regulations about what a school bus looks like and its tasks. However, these regulations do not guide the school districts on how to use technology to help.