Kentwood Public Schools had a specific need: to ensure the safety of the 6,100 students they are responsible for transporting to and from their school campuses every day via 48 school buses. They wanted to track their students and be able to quickly and accurately report their whereabouts and safety during the time students ride the bus before and after school. This is especially important given heightened parent concerns about the safety of schoolchildren in today’s anxious climate.
In order to find a solution, KPS Executive Director of Finance and Operations Todd Bell consulted Moss in 2018.
“Our priority is the safety of Kentwood’s students. When parents entrust us with that responsibility, we need a way to communicate where their children are, and who they are with during that 10-15-minute bus ride,” Bell said. Kentwood Public School officials knew their buses were operating safely, but they had no tracking data and staff couldn’t answer questions about the location of specific students or buses. They needed a way to demonstrate student safety to parents.
Brainstorming a Solution to Track Student Location and Safety
After discussing with Bell what the needs of the school were, Moss proposed that the Kentwood Department of Transportation implement WEBFLEET, a robust tracking solution capable of providing precise, near real-time reporting of bus and student whereabouts and fleet safety performance.
WEBFLEET’s technology utilizes:
- LINK 530 for GPS-enabled vehicle tracking
- PRO 8275M TRUCK for turn-by-turn route navigation plus built-in camera support
- OptiDrive 360 for driver behavior monitoring
- Input/output cables for bus light integration
- Integration with school district mapping system and student information system (SIS)
Moss installed a flat screen monitor in the offices of the Kentwood Department of Transportation to allowed KPS staff to see the whereabouts of every KPS bus on a map.
Todd Bell, Executive Director of Finance and Operations, Kentwood Public Schools
Moss successfully collaborated with WEBFLEET to implement a tracking solution in two phases. We implemented the first phase during the Winter 2019 semester, focusing on WEBFLEET’s GPS tracking capabilities and training Kentwood Public Schools bus drivers in how the WEBFLEET system works. Moss installed a flat screen monitor in the offices of the Kentwood Department of Transportation. This allowed KPS staff to see the whereabouts of every KPS bus on a map of the district at any time the buses were in use.
The second phase of this project we implemented at the start of the 2019 school year. This incorporated route navigation and driver behavior notifications into the WEBFLEET system, pushing routes to drivers to use. We installed cameras on buses. Using input/output cables, we were able to correlate the buses’ stops with bus light activations and capture video of route locations. Using this technology, the transportation department employees could assure parents that their children were where they were supposed to be and on track for being picked up or dropped off on schedule. The OptiDrive 360 technology gave drivers immediate feedback as well as predictive driving advice. This knowledge helped them avoid traffic issues and other road problems.
As a result of utilizing the WEBFLEET technology, the Kentwood Department of Transportation was able to document and demonstrate to their students’ parents that the KPS drivers were performing their jobs safely and responsibly and their children were in good hands while riding the bus to and from school. They had proof that drivers weren’t speeding and they weren’t braking excessively or harshly.
In addition, drivers using the optimized bus routes resulted in savings of $35,000 from the KPS annual diesel fuel budget of $380,000. Bell also anticipates that the school district will save significantly on vehicle maintenance and tires because buses will not be putting miles on them they don’t need to drive. The cost of maintaining 48 buses is high - the price of one tire is $600 - so this is an enormous benefit to the school district and the taxpayer. The resources they do not have to spend on tires, fuel, and other maintenance can be spent on classroom resources instead.
Kentwood Public Schools is very satisfied with the security solution Moss provided for their transportation safety and accountability issue. “WEBFLEET is so user friendly,” Bell said. “The mapping is obvious and the graphics are perfect. It’s been a wonderful tool and it has done exactly what we hoped it would do. It provides us with crucial data to communicate with parents about the safety and well-being of their children. Great solution provided by Moss and TomTom.”