Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration suggests from 2003 to 2013, in the US intercity buses accounted for 13%, school busses accounted for 41% and transit buses accounted for 33% of all buses got into lethal accidents.
From 2012 to 2013, the number of buses involved in fatal accidents increased from 253 to 280, a rise of 11% and the vehicle involvement rate for buses in fatal crashes increased by 8%.
A 2011 National Transportation Safety Board study says, “Buses and other commercial motor vehicles have a higher likelihood of fatal accident involvement per registered vehicle”
According to the NHTSA, there were a total of 1,344 fatalities in traffic accidents involving school buses between 2004 and 2013 in the United States – an average of almost 134 fatal accidents each year.
Approximately, 17,000 children are rushed to emergency rooms on an average per year because of school bus-related issues (Source: ABC News).
Parents in fear
Parents live in a constant fear about the where abouts of their wards till the time they return. While schools are safe havens, the daily commute to and from the school is a cause of anxiety for most parents. Roads are not safe.
In the case of an accident, the driver is responsible 77% of the time. Over speeding/overtaking, alcohol/ drugs influence, and driving distractions remain top reasons for which a driver can be held responsible for.
Among distractions, cellphone use remains a major problem.
The worst part is while technology can minimize most of the distraction behind those mishaps and prevent rowdy drivers from crashing along with innocent children, school administrations shy away from bringing latest tech into their school bus fleet.
Even the most technologically sophisticated school bus fleets are not more than an inconsistent GPS tracking device over a loose internet connection.
People between the age of 15-29 are more likely to die because of a road accident or suicide than from a disease, condition, or an infection, as per a report by World Health Organization (WHO) suggests.
Ironically, while we may have won the fight against the natural enemy, we are yet to win it against evils of the so called modern society.
The least we can do is to keep the school-going children safe on the road. Traditional fleet tracking systems are a great start in this direction, but are they actually effective?
Old-school fleet tracking systems
Fleet tracking systems have been around for a while now. While they, when installed on a fleet of school buses, with the help of GPS tracking solution and GSM it can report real-time location to the fleet admin.
The system is not sophisticated enough to alert a distracted driver, lockdown top speed or debunk a drunk driver.
Traditional tracking systems, once a luxury, have now become a necessity.
However, with the addition of IoT devices to school buses will make them more secure, efficient in operation. Not to mention, cloud services will enable mobility solutions, allowing parents to track the school bus carrying their wards in real-time on their mobile phone with the help of an app.
The modern school bus tracking system
The solution combines GPS, GSM, and RFID technologies to track students’ attendance on the bus, drop and pick up times and locations, absence, and to alert the driver and the concerned parents at certain occasions
In addition, the solution enables the school bus operators to optimize their bus routes, to adjust route utilization, and to reduce running cost, and most importantly to comply to the latest regulations in school transport industry such as imposing pre-trip vehicle inspection.
The on-board diagnostic (OBD) device attached to a vehicle’s dashboard gathers vital stats about a school bus in the fleet in addition to reporting live location.
The device has necessary sensors to detect a rowdy driver–one who corners harshly, overspeeds, takes sudden turns, overtakes other vehicles, etc.
If a driver has gone overboard and the admin believes his action might harm little children, he can immobilize the engine remotely and send a cop in his direction.
To make sure, a driver is undistracted while driving. The driver’s mobile phone enters lockdown mode as soon as the OBD detects motion.
Enabling mobility solutions
The school bus real-time tracking system can be accessed from a mobile device too just the way it’s accessed from a desktop web browser or the dashboard software.
The GPS chip inside the OBD device attached to each school bus, pushes the information to a public cloud through 4G using MQTT, as illustrated above.
Any device that have access to that cloud can track the school bus location in real-time, be it the dashboard placed at the school, iPhone of the parents, or the android device of the principal, tablet computer of the gatekeeper.
What a modern school bus tracking system features?
Our School Bus Tracking is specially designed for you to manage your fleet of buses effortlessly by transforming them into Smart Buses.
This service facilitates administrative tasks that go along with ensuring the safety of a child.
You stay aware of the where abouts of children at all times. Parents are also kept updated using this service. Once can use this service for corporate employee transportation as well.
- Real time tracking: Track your bus real time on web
- Route replay: Replay the route that a bus has taken
- Geo-fence: Get an alert as soon as the bus leaves a certain area
- Geo-tagging*: Each bus stop is marked on map to know bus position relative to school stops
- Parent alerts: A special service from Tata Docomo, where parents of the wards can be sent alerts as to when the bus is reaching their respective stop
- Speed estimates: Get average and real-time speed
- Over speeding alerts: Set a target speed and get SMS alert on over speed.
Considering its simplicity and utility, this vehicle tracking system is a boon for school authorities as well as parents.
Let’s take a look at some other advantages.
If you’re looking to build an app for school bus tracking then you must know the fact that these apps give high emphasis on the automation as it’s intrinsic to the segment.
You can achieve this by controlling the school bus transportation services along with optimum facilitation and the tracking methods. These apps and systems are way beyond to human or procedural errors.
These sorts of requirements are just perfect for IoT technologies. But, how exactly could they serve the advanced requirements of school bus services? Let’s see below.
School bus tracking system is opportune for school authorities. The software automates most of the operation including routing and scheduling.
School authorities only have to take a look if everything is under control and need to take an action only when things go wrong which is seldom a case in modern school bus tracking system.
It saves the time and energy required for re-routing and re-scheduling whenever things go wrong.
Efficiency and saving
Manual routing and scheduling cause errors which might invite fines from regulatory authorities. Such inconsistencies can be evaded with an RFID vehicle management system.
Using such a system permits you to be conscious of the miles covered and mileage of each vehicle, which will reorganize driver’s payroll
Also, the school authorities get to know how resourcefully the school buses are being run, if there is redundant idling and if any instances of overspeeding, overtaking, etc. taking place.
A GPS school bus tracking system logs the activity of each school bus. Along with the RFID tags, it tracks children in case they disappear. The database can be used to find the circumstances that led to a mishap or crash.
School bus attendance
It is a tough job to uphold attendance of each schoolchild discretely. Correspondingly, marking attendance by hand is susceptible to errors.
An IoT app development solution for school bus tracking system can record school bus attendance rapidly and effortlessly. The attendance details can be pushed to the school attendance database over a data connection.
Less number of calls
Parents, who receive real-time notification on arrival and departure a school bus carrying their child, are less likely to call school authorities for the same and save each other’s time.
What to look for when choosing a school bus tracking provider?
The provider must provide end-to-end service including device, application, and connectivity.
No upfront investment
You must not be asked for the upfront investment and must pay only what you use, as you go. Look for scalability.
A rapid and continuous deployment get you started at the earliest. So that you’re into the markets before your competitors.
Real-time tracking and notification assist you in monitoring children safety during transit
So, technology has eventually found a technique to ease parents’ tension. It’s high time for schools to hold it and make parents feel a lot safer for their wards.
The technology is still evolving and in the coming years we may see a lot of innovation in IoT-based school bus tracking system. And we can expect that this intervention of the technology will surely calm down the parents about their children’s security.