Transportation software mitigates bus management issues for merging districts

Routefinder from Transfinder eases the burden of bus routing, scheduling and planning
By: | Issue: April 2020 | Case Study
April 1, 2020

The consolidation of West Geauga Local Schools (1,900 students) and Newbury Local Schools (350 students) for the 2020-21 academic year required new bus routes to accommodate new students without increasing ride times.

The consolidated district in northeastern Ohio has not only higher enrollment, but also greater coverage, with 70 square miles.

“We don’t have sidewalks here, and because of the distance between homes, we also don’t have a lot of opportunity for group stops,” says Sean Whelan, director of technology and operations for West Geauga. “We needed to get these routes right to properly estimate the right number of buses.” Transfinder’s Routefinder software was selected to provide this data.

Improving services, lowering costs

The Routefinder software for school transportation management is easy to use for bus routing, scheduling and planning. It analyzes bus routes and pickup sites and quickly adjusts to changes.

Routefinder also creates and analyzes “what-if” scenarios to continually improve service and lower operating costs. It seamlessly integrates with districtwide student information systems, and it increases efficiency, enhances function and reduces costs.

Succinct data presentation

Transfinder created and presented a four-page report to the West Geauga superintendent and board of education. The report was met with enthusiasm. It outlined how new bus routes would incorporate Newbury students but ensure that students were not on the bus for more than an hour, a timeline the board did not want to cross after the consolidation.

“Transfinder took out a lot of the data and technical jargon, and broke down the report to the number of routes, buses needed and actual route times …”

“Transfinder took out a lot of the data and technical jargon, and broke down the report to the number of routes, buses needed and actual route times, which was what we were concerned about,” Whelan says.

Preparing for the future

Routefinder is in use for the current West Geauga-only bus routes, so it will be a seamless transition next school year when the Newbury routes are added into the daily schedule.

“This has been a really effective way to learn how to use the software,” says Whelan, who adds that Transfinder’s support team is extremely responsive to any questions about Routefinder.

Real-time data will allow the district to improve financial planning for purchasing new buses or vans in the future. Routefinder also updates enrollment daily as students move into or out of the district.

“Five students moving into or five students moving out of the district can have a tremendous impact on increasing or decreasing the time on bus routes,” Whelan says. “With Routefinder, we see the impact and know what it means for route times.”

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