Budget Woes Lead to Routing Efficiencies

The state budget for school transportation is down $15 million and LEA transportation departments are feeling the pinch. Many have implemented new efficiency measures to cut cost while serving the same population of students. The Transportation Information Management System (TIMS) provides a powerful planning tool to ensure the viability of new strategies. A sampling of initiatives is given below.

Currituck: Reduced 3 buses; longest rides reduced by nearly an hour

Gary Cox, Transportation Director: “This has worked out better than thought it would. The staggering of bell time allows us reduce most of the ride times of our students to less than an hour where it was as much as 2. In the outer areas reducing their ride times, that were as much a 2 plus hours, to less than 90 minutes. As a bonus, we were able to park 2 buses saving the county about $170000.00 in new bus purchases and reallocate a third to service our early college program. Over all a big success for the Currituck County Schools.” Read the full story HERE.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg: Parked 100 buses, Consolidated 11,000 stops

In July of 2008, CMS transportation staff partnered with UNCC TIMS staff to review current neighborhood bus stop placement and develop a template using landmarks in TIMS creating common neighborhood bus stops across the district in an effort to reduce number of stops, buses and miles. Read the full story HERE.

Pender: Reduced 3 buses; data-based decision making

Pender county updated their TIMS map from county GIS data. After optimization with the new GIS map in place, Pender County was able to reduce their fleet by three buses, shred 950 daily miles of travel and realize savings of approximately $386,000 this school year. Read the full story HERE.

Henderson: Reduction of 1 bus and 1200 miles for ONE elementary school

In addition to reducing the Sugarloaf Elementary bus fleet by 25%, the number of daily miles has been reduced from 171.4 miles last year to 164.6 miles for 2009-2010. Likewise, the total minutes of driving time decreased from 568 minutes to 510 minutes per day. These daily savings calculate to reductions of 1,229.4 miles and 174 hours of driving time over the course of the 180 day school year. Read the full story HERE.

Cabarrus: Reduction of 53 buses AND average ride times

Cabarrus county went from a two tier to a three tier bell schedule. When asked about the success of the new transportation plan, Douglas said, “The only real challenge has been the routes and schedules are much tighter. Everyone has to relax and let things settle down after the first few days. The TIMS information, if well maintained, will prove to be accurate.” Read the full story HERE.

Watauga: Savings of an estimated 84,042 miles and 828 hours of driving time

The Watauga County Schools (NC) transportation office began examining the efficiency of bus routes in compliance with North Carolina guidelines regarding pupil transportation. Anticipating a reduction in transportation funding, transportation supervisor Toni Floyd reviewed the proximity of stops to one another as well as the amount of travel on side roads that occurred during the 2008-2009 school year. Read the full Story HERE.