Florida School District Purchases Software to Track Bus Routes, Riders

The Okaloosa County School Board approved the purchase of the software earlier this week, optimizing routes and giving schools the ability to handle emergency situations more quickly.

by Katie Tammen, Northwest Florida Daily News / February 2, 2015

(TNS)  — It’s about to get a little easier to track who rides which school bus in Okaloosa County and where every bus stop is located.

The Okaloosa County School Board approved the purchase of bus routing software earlier this week at the request of Jay McInnis, who oversees transportation for the district.

“We feel like the software will enable us to grow in the transportation department,” McInnis said.

Not only will it permit them to “optimize” their routes, but it also gives them the ability to handle emergency situations more quickly.

Under the program, the names of students who could be riding a bus and contact information for their parents can be accessed easily.

Board member Melissa Thrush has been advocating for the district to purchase routing software for several years.

Up until now, the complicated process of busing was done manually and routes were outdated as soon as they were published, she said.

With the new software they won’t have to depend on a single person’s knowledge to pick up kids at the right location at the right time.

“It’s important to give (the transportation department) the ability to work dynamically,” Thrush said.

Eventually the district could also use GPS tracking of the buses with the software.

The initial purchase will cost the district $74,994. Each year after that, it will pay $20,000 to cover the costs of software updates, hardware and data storage, McInnis said.

©2015 the Northwest Florida Daily News (Fort Walton Beach, Fla.)

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