Mark your calendars: 2017-2018 Consortium Meeting Dates

The Ohio SSC 2017-2018 Consortium Meetings are scheduled for:

  • Tuesday, September 5, 2017: 10am – 12pm
  • Wednesday, January 17, 2018: 10am – 12pm
  • Tuesday, May 1, 2018: 10am – 12pm

Primary focus of these meetings will be the progress, accomplishments, and next steps for the Straight A Fund transportation grant.

All Ohio SSC members and partners are invited.

Meetings will be held at Zane State College, Cambridge Campus.

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INSPIRED BY EFFICIENCY

busHigh fuel costs…continual upkeep and maintenance…and a shortage of certified bus drivers.

Hassles like these are causing school districts to spend more money on transportation and often reduce services, causing problems for already hard-working families. The Noble Local School district has a better idea.

Twenty rural Ohio school districts are installing GPS systems in their buses to see where they can merge routes and save costs.

The district is partnering with 19 other rural school districts to make getting kids to class more efficient. Using $1.7 million in Straight A funding, the districts will use GPS technology installed on more than 400 school buses to collect and analyze data, such as travel time, mileage, idle time, authorized stops, vehicle speed and route start and stop times. They’ll use the results to consolidate routes and minimize fuel consumption while still offering good service to families.

A case in point: three districts in the consortium send 15 students each to a career center. Each district uses its own bus, designed for 70 passengers, for a trip that is up to 30 miles one way. By sharing services, the three districts can send one bus, instead of three, to transport the 45 students to school.

Districts in the consortium simultaneously will improve student safety and parents’ peace of mind by using radio frequency identification technology that provides a precise time and location for each student boarding or exiting a bus. A parent can use a smart phone or electronic tablet to confirm that his or her child was picked up and dropped off at home and at school.

StraightALogo“We believe that through shared services and other efficiencies, we may be able to reduce the number of routes by 20 in the consortium,” said Noble Local Superintendent Dan Leffingwell. “Anything we can do to increase our efficiency is saving our districts money that we can redirect to our classrooms.”

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Selecting School Bus Stop Locations

schoolbus_thumb[3]Transporting students to and from school safely is a foremost priority for school transportation directors, school bus drivers, crossing guards and others involved in getting students to school. School children travel to and from their schools by a variety of modes including school buses, private vehicles, carpools, public and private transportation providers, bicycles and on foot.

School buses are the safest mode of transportation to and from school in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 450,000 public school buses travel approximately 4.3 billion miles to transport 23.5 million children to and from school and school-related activities. On average, 20 school-age children die each year in school bus–related crashes or incidents. Of these 20, five of the children are injured inside the bus, five are struck by other vehicles, and 10 are struck by the school bus itself. These statistics indicate that there’s an opportunity for even this very safe form of travel to improve the safety of both the locations where students wait for the school bus and the routes students travel between home and the school bus stop.

clicktoreadSchool transportation planners are tasked with planning bus routes. However, only fragmented information regarding safety considerations for determining the location of school bus stops has been available to them. Generally, the placement of school bus stops dictates not only the routes that students will have to travel between home and the stop, but also the conditions in which the student will be waiting, and both impact student safety.

School transportation professionals, school administrators, and others who care about student transport to school could benefit from straightforward guidelines that present safety-related considerations for school bus stop siting. These guidelines offer steps for the designation of school bus stops and strategies to support safe pedestrian behavior by students between their homes and their bus stops. This guide is timely as school budgets and other pressures may lead to the consolidation of bus routes and/or expansions of areas designated as “no transport zones.” Both of these changes can lead to increased walking distances for students or shifts to travel modes other than buses. In addition, new schools are under construction, existing schools have changing attendance boundaries and other circumstances may also result in potential changes to bus routes. Such changes also present the opportunity to identify new school bus stops.

This article was prepared by The National Center for Safe Routes to School, the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center and The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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