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From pick up to drop off — student tracking provides peace of mind

From pick up to drop off — student tracking provides peace of mind
Student tracking solutions for school buses are allowing both parents and school administrators to keep track of students during their bus journey to and from school.
Student tracking solutions for school buses are allowing both parents and school administrators to keep track of students during their bus journey to and from school.

It’s a simple fact — parents want to know where their children are. Now, with student tracking solutions, this peace of mind can be offered to both parents, drivers and school administrators alike.

Most of the technologies used by school buses to increase safety (e.g., collision detection, surveillance cameras, GPS tracking, etc.) are not unique to school bus transportation — many of these technologies are already widely used in the transportation industry. What is unique to the school bus industry, though, is the proliferation of apps and student tracking technologies. With these technologies drivers and parents can track both the school bus and students on the bus, while also ensuring that school buses are as efficient as possible.

Different types of student tracking

The latest solution for student tracking is to equip students with their own ID card which is swiped when getting on and off the school bus. This allows administrators and parents to view and track where students are during the school bus operation. Companies like Wireless Links offer passive and active RFID solutions integrated with fleet management to track students. The company’s student and school bus tracking fleet management solution provides visibility and control over the real-time location of students and buses while providing assistance in ensuring student transportation safety. 

According to Gene Ballard, Smart Bus Program Manager at Kajeet, the following are required for an effective student tracking solution: full GPS services on the bus, ID cards for the students with RFID or NFC, and driver tablets (which some states prohibit). “The driver tablet is important as students will forget their ID cards and their information must be manually entered into a tablet,” he explained.

The Kajeet solution provides the connecting piece of Wi-Fi to ensure student tracking information can be transferred safely and securely. “Our SmartBus solution also includes the GPS services to: view the current location and location history of every school bus; visualize the position of buses across the school district with a breadcrumbs trail; and create custom reports, including when buses exceed the speed limit,” Ballard said.

Seon’s student ridership tracking solution is integrated with video, GPS tracking and route operations software. “Student tracking requires an RFID card, card reader, wireless connectivity (cellular) and interface with routing or tracking data. Most vendors offer pieces of this solution, leading to incompatibility and incomprehensible data reports. We offer a fully integrated video, routing and tracking solution,” said Justin Malcolm, Director of Product Management for Seon, a Safe Fleet brand.

ReaXium has created a unique solution using mobile biometric devices that are outfitted on the school bus. “Upon boarding, students and bus drivers authenticate themselves with a device that captures their fingerprint or ID card which verifies who they are, when they boarded, and what bus and bus stop they should be going to,” explained Edgar Zorrilla, CEO of ReaXium.

Unlike cameras, GPS tracking and roll-call methods of student monitoring, which lack a big proponent in visibility, ReaXium’s solution removes the guesswork of which students are on the bus, what stop they will be getting off at, and when they will be getting off. “Parents and administrators can track the buses in real-time and get notifications on student status. The ability to provide constant visibility throughout the bus route is critical in making sure that no child is not accounted for and to advocate safety for the greater community,” Zorrilla said.

Tracking students can definitely have its benefits, especially in highly urban settings where safety and security may be more of a concern. With safety becoming more of an issue, certain school districts are sure to find such tech very valuable. 
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