Transporting 24,000 students safely, and keeping parents informed throughout the process.
K-12 software and parent app for safer, more reliable service.
Parents and staff simply love the quality of service.
It gets hot in Texas! And while most of us love the warmth that comes with plenty of sunshine, the stifling Texas heat can be hazardous to the health of students who are often forced to wait in the beaming sun at their transit stop. For Kris Hafezizadeh, Director of Transportation at Austin ISD in Texas, this is a huge concern.
"The first mission of my operation is to make sure I'm running a safe and reliable service."
Austin ISD transports around 24,000 students each day and has a large volume of routes to schedule, and drivers to assign. Handling that volume of transportation, Kris says "You've got to expect you're going to have some issues. That's not a good feeling." With that in mind, Austin ISD implemented a GPS tracking system to better protect its student population. I'm fortunate that I'm allowed to spend the money on these kinds of things," he explains. "But you don't put a cost on the safety of students."
"GPS is all about security, reliability and efficiency. 8 years ago, we went with GPS based on this."
For routing and scheduling, Kris uses TripSpark's school transportation software solution. He appreciates that it synchronizes GPS and routing information. "We can see if a driver is taking some other route, they're not supposed to." Aside from tracking which routes are being followed, Kris appreciates the insights he gains from the extensive data gathered and reported on. "We are happy to have a report for idling, speed and many other things."
Aside from the heat, there's also the possibility of rain or ice, and even the risk of overland flooding. Kris needed a way to be able to monitor his entire operation from one place and be able to act quickly in the event of an emergency.
Implementing a school bus parent app became a priority for Austin ISD. Enabling the ability for parents to monitor the location of their children's bus and its arrival in real-time, has greatly reduced the amount of "where's my kid" calls to the transportation office. Most importantly, parents felt more confident in the system. The security of student data is also incredibly important to all concerned stakeholders. Kris shared that the combination of "the parent cloud", the secure app and the ability to only access information with a student ID, are essential to keeping private information, private.
At the beginning of the school year, Kris says that students are at risk of getting off a bus at the wrong stop. One of the things that he likes about the K12 transportation software system is that he has access to all a student's information, so he can act quickly in the event of a potentially stressful situation for student and parent.
"I can see their emergency contact number, their address. That has been very, very helpful."
Kris needs to respond quickly to issues that can develop at any time, day, or night. Buses are used to transport students to nighttime football games, for example, and he loves the fact that he can easily pull up schedule information, bus locations and student information from his mobile device at any time. Recently, Austin encountered some severe flood conditions while Kris was away from the office. Three schools were evacuated and even the superintendent was brought into help. Kris was still able to help run the evacuation process from his phone, saying "that was quite impressive."
Kris decided to partner with TripSpark to ensure that future technologies would be guaranteed to integrate seamlessly. While they're using scheduling software and the parent app now, Kris is planning to add exciting new products with new functionality. For example, On-board tablets and student ridership will track if students get on the wrong bus or get off at the wrong bus stop.
"We chose TripSpark because they can synch technologies better."
This was an important issue when Austin ISD went to RFP. In Kris's opinion, moving towards a single-source solution would enable his operation to grow. And as his partner, we're glad to be able to work with Austin ISD to help them achieve their mission of safe and reliable service.
"We've received many compliments from happy parents who are able to see the arrival times of their kids' buses live and GPS has made things run smoothly."