Telecom Signaling Industry News

TMCNet:  GPS used to track school buses in program to improve safety and efficiency

[December 17, 2012]

GPS used to track school buses in program to improve safety and efficiency

Dec 17, 2012 (The Fayetteville Observer - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Steve Turbiville watches five large monitors come to life with blinking circles and triangles that are red, yellow and green.

Turbiville is in the Cumberland County schools' Dispatch/GPS Center, and the shapes represent Cumberland County school buses equipped with a global positioning system. About 125 of the 480 Cumberland County school buses are a part of a GPS pilot program, which began last year.

The program improves efficiency and safety, said Al Miller, the transportation department's executive director.

With GPS on the buses, the transportation staff can access details about the bus stops, the duration of the stops and the speed of the bus between each stop. The dispatcher can direct buses to alternate routes in case of road closures or accidents.

"This gives us unlimited possibilities," Miller said. "The better we can keep our fleet on the road at any given time helps us to ensure that the students are getting to school on time." On a recent day, Turbiville, a communication specialist for the transportation department, receives a call from one of the drivers for assistance. The circle representing the bus is red at the third stop of the driver's morning route. Within five minutes, a school bus mechanic arrives at the stop.

"If a substitute driver who is lost has a breakdown, I can tell the driver, 'Just sit right there and we can come to you,' " Turbiville said. "Our response time is much quicker. We don't have to go look at maps. If someone is hurt, we can get to them faster." The school system uses EduTracker, a GPS school bus routing software and cellphones to track the buses. Each driver logs in on a cellphone at the start and the end of each run. Information is sent back to the system's dispatch center.

The program is tied into the system's Transportation Information Management System, a comprehensive computer-assisted school bus routing and scheduling software.

Across North Carolina, more than 4,400 of the 13,412 school buses that are on the road have GPS tracking, said Derek Graham, Transportation Services section chief with the state Department of Public Instruction. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is the only system in the state with all buses equipped with GPS tracking. The system has 959 buses.

"It is extremely useful technology that helps in two major areas -- safety and efficiency," Graham said. "They are able to track the routes and then determine whether any improvements need to be made. They are generating enough savings to pay for the system because of the improved efficiency." Cumberland County school officials hope the program will save the system between $70,000 to $100,000 a year. The buses travel 27,000 miles a day.

"We would like to have all the buses with GPS in August, but it will depend on our cellphone coverage," Miller said.

Cellphone coverage in certain parts of the county is poor and could hinder the tracking of buses, he explained.

The Robeson County school system is researching the idea, said Raymond Cummings, director of transportation for the Public Schools of Robeson County. Currently, the school system uses Transportation Information Management System.

"We have given the administration some preliminary numbers -- about $30,000 to $50,000 for cost; maintenance fee (of) about $25,000 a year and projected savings of about $150,000," Cummings said.

Cumberland County schools Superintendent Frank Till Jr. said the program will generate cost savings for the system.

"In the era of cost containment," he said, "this is an area that can help us." Staff writer Venita Jenkins can be reached at or 486-3511.

___ (c)2012 The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.) Visit The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

[ Back To Telecom Signaling's Homepage ]

Featured Events

5G NA Signaling Day

November 14-16, 2016
Sheraton Dallas, Dallas, TX

Featured Webcasts

Securing The Signaling Interconnect: Oracle's Perspective On Recent Security Events

Today's telecommunications landscape is changing rapidly, and the "institution" of trust between networks that has been assumed over the decades is no longer relevant. We are now hearing of vulnerabilities in CSP interconnection points that have been known ...

Applications of Wi-Fi Calling

With all of the discussion about faster data access and richer content, it could be assumed that voice services no longer play an important role in the business model of the communications service provider. Join ReThink Technologies Research and Oracle Communications as we explore ...

Featured Whitepapers

Oracle Communications Diameter Signaling Router Main Differentiators

Diameter is the protocol used by network elements in LTE and 3G networks to enable and monetize services, such as voice, video and data. Diameter enables revenue-generating data services; including tiered data plans, loyalty programs, application specific QoS, content provider and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions ...

Multi-Layer Security Protection for Signaling Networks

The sanctity of mobile operators' networks and brands will depend greatly on their ability to deliver QoS guarantees to roaming and interconnect partners, while simultaneously protecting increasingly multimedia-savvy and socially connected ...

Featured Datasheets

Oracle Communications Diameter Signaling Router

Centralizing Diameter routing with cloud deployable Oracle Communications Diameter Signaling Router creates a secure signaling architecture that reduces the cost and complexity of the core network and enables elastic growth, interoperability and rapid introduction ...

Oracle Communications Mobile Security Gateway

The Oracle Communications Mobile Security Gateway is a high performance gateway that allows the Communications Service Provider (CSP) to cost effectively expand network coverage and increase capacity by incorporating Heterogeneous ...

Oracle Communications Evolved Communications Application Server

As service providers drive their networks toward an all-IP and virtualized state, they require the means to design and deliver compelling high definition voice, video and multimedia offers via Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and Voice over WiFi (VoWiFi) ...

Featured Infographic