Bus tracking and GPS devices for schools

By: | September 15, 2017

A wave of new GPS systems not only tracks buses in real time, but allows administrators to map routes, films drivers for future training purposes and provides data on how well vehicles are functioning.

The technology also promises safer rides for students and provides peace-of-mind for parents, who can download apps to find out where their children are and to communicate with school transportation officials. One company provides ID cards that identify when students get on and off a bus.


First Student

FirstView provides a secure bus-tracking, communication and engagement tool for districts and parents. School leaders can respond to parent inquiries and inform teachers of any delays via the app’s dashboard. A separate parent app shows the location and direction of buses, along with arrival and departure details.

Parents can also set up alerts that notify them when a bus is a certain distance away from a stop.


Tyler Telematic GPS

Tyler Technologies

This GPS tracker allows district leaders to plan efficient routes, check vehicle mileage and battery life, and watch for engine problems. It can predict when a bus’ engine may overheat and also alerts drivers who have been idling for too long, which can increase fleet costs.

The hardware also indicates hard braking and rapid acceleration—which can cause accidents—and stores pre-accident data for training purposes.



Connection Navistar

Administrators can track fleets in real time with OnCommand Connection, which works on desktop computers and mobile devices. The program can spot up to 18,000 problems—such as engine failure and overheating—while buses are still on the road, and can find nearby dealers for maintenance.

Users can filter data by vehicle type, fault code and time, and choose vehicles to monitor more closely.




This windshield-mounted camera captures 12-second video clips of the road and bus operators when unusual driving occurs. The camera starts filming when its sensors detect hard braking, sudden swerves and rapid changes in speed—all indicators of an accident that’s about to occur. Each clip is uploaded to a database for future retraining purposes.


SafeStop app

SafeStop Inc.

SafeStop provides parents with real-time updates on bus location and estimated times of arrival. Parents also have access to email and phone support if they have concerns, potentially eliminating 90 percent of calls to school officials.

Administrators can notify parents of school closings and delays, and also gather data on underutilized bus stops and on-time performance to create a more cost-efficient transportation system.


Mobil Trackr

K12 Mobility

The Mobil Trackr platform tracks vehicle location and a wide range of other data. It provides information on how much a vehicle has been used, trip history, traffic updates, speeding incidents, fuel consumption, battery life and engine temperature. Additionally, an app tells parents and students the approximate time a bus will arrive at a specific stop.




Students wear these ID cards so parents and schools can monitor when youngsters board and leave buses. The cards are trackable via Bluetooth Low Energy—a wireless network technology that sends notifications to a parent’s mobile app and to the school’s computer system.

The card can still transmit a trackable signal even if it has been left in a student’s pocket or backpack.


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