The History of TIMS
The Transportation Information Management System (TIMS) is a unique collaboration between the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) and the Institute for Transportation Research and Education (ITRE) at North Carolina State University. It is an ongoing statewide project that concentrates on maintaining and improving upon efficiency in school bus transportation at the district level. Each district operates standardized, comprehensive computer-assisted school bus routing and scheduling software. By maintaining student, transportation and street network data at the local level, district personnel have access to the most accurate and current data available. TIMS Support Staff at NCSU and UNC Charlotte provide daily software and technical support to individual TIMS data managers across the state.
The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) utilizes TIMS data in the transportation funding formula to calculate annual transportation allotments for each local education agency (LEA). The funding formula accounts for distinctions between densely populated urban areas and more rural or sparsely populated districts in an effort to equalize the allocation process. Standardized software and reporting features allow comparative analysis among districts statewide and provide methods to measure compliance with state laws, regulations and policies concerning school bus transportation. An effective use of TIMS ensures a school bus routing plan that focuses on efficiency while maintaining student safety.
In 1986, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) set in motion a plan to install a comprehensive computer-assisted school bus routing and scheduling system in all LEAs in North Carolina. This approach was completely unique in the field of computerized school bus routing.
In the fall 1985, ITRE at NCSU worked with DPI in the preparation of a project definition report, documenting "the state-of-the-art in computerized school bus routing and scheduling in North Carolina." This report led to a request for proposals (RFP) for system consultants to work with the DPI and ITRE in the preparation of a comprehensive system design. In 1986, the design was incorporated into another RFP for software to become the heart of TIMS.
While no vendor could meet all of the extensive requirements of the RFP, DPI selected Education Logistics (Edulog) of Missoula, MT, as the software vendor, with the stipulation that program enhancements would be made to bring the software into compliance with the TIMS system specifications.
Since September 1, 1992, as required by the legislative mandate, all LEAs have implemented the TIMS system.
TIMS is a project of the Department of Public Instruction and is implemented through the Institute for Transportation Research and Education at NCSU - Pupil Transportation Program, Raleigh NC and the UNC-Charlotte Urban Institute.