Bus Central is a technology demonstration developed by WWT to provide valuable insights for school administrators into the performance and safety of their school bus fleet.
What is connected transportation?
Connected transportation integrates network routing, Wi-Fi and sensor systems into vehicles to enable communication while traveling. In the Bus Central demonstration, we use Cisco networking and Davra Networks’ RuBAN system to provide GPS location and vehicle data which is used in fleet management workflows.
Davras’ dashboard software communicates with the Cisco 829 ISR, which provides real-time monitoring, tracking and management. Vehicle telematics capture vehicle data such as vehicle speed, tire pressure and maintenance details to improve safety and monitor vehicle health.
The Bus Central management application helps:
- Reduce costs by monitoring driving patterns and mileage readings
- Alert when a school bus breaks from its designated route
- Notify school administrators immediately when an accident or other incident occurs
- Provide live engine data around fleet performance and safety issues
WWT has integrated Davras’ RuBAN suite software features with Cisco Webex Teams collaboration tools in order to provide a simple interface for school administrators and bus drivers to communicate more effectively. The Bus Central application can be loaded on any iPad version running iOS 10 or greater.
Monitoring the entire fleet
Bus Central allows a school administrator to monitor the entire bus fleet from a single interface. The admin can check the location of the bus and the live status whether the bus is in motion, stopped or in the school parking lot. Once the admin selects a bus from the map, an interaction menu appears with actionable activities like placing a video call to the driver, sending an instant message, or dispatching a tow truck for service. The administrator can also receive live engine data notifications for maintenance issues like oil or tire pressure.
Cisco Webex Teams is a cloud-based collaboration infrastructure providing team messaging, meeting and video calling. Bus Central utilizes the power of Cisco Webex Teams cloud to provide direct video calling and messaging between school administrators and bus drivers while on route. Administrators can choose to communicate directly with a single driver, or send out notification alerts to the entire fleet.
One of the considerations for bus management was around student tracking. Bus Central can be integrated into school systems and pull student data to determine which school bus a student is scheduled to ride. The administrator can click on a student profile and get instant information on which bus the student normally rides, and which bus the student checks in on for those instances when a child may need to ride a different bus for parent pickup.
Support for bus drivers
School bus drivers have an extremely important and stressful job. They must be able to navigate city streets while keeping a mind to the children’s safety and well being while riding the bus. Bus Central was designed to facilitate many of the tasks bus drivers must contend with while on their routes. The first aspect Bus Central addresses is driver login and route management. While a seasoned bus driver knows the routes and stops for their pickups, many times a substitute will be required. Bus Central has a route management component that allows the driver to be notified of next stops and tracks location on the map.
Bus drivers are able to use Cisco Webex Teams for instant messaging and video calling while the bus is in an idle status. Safety precautions have been put in place so that controls for interactive media are disabled while the bus is in motion.
While Bus Central addresses many of the school bus fleet management activities, there are additional features in the works. Parent notification is a simple way to keep parents aware of child logins and bus route changes. Bus Central can be integrated to provide SMS messaging at bus stop pickup and drop off points. School administrators will also be able to notify parents of late buses both by individual bus, or as a system wide notification during inclement weather.
Another great future integration is the addition of RFID identification tags. Many schools are requiring students to carry scan cards for checking in and out of the school building. Those cards can also contain an RFID chip which can be read every time a student enters and leaves the bus providing automatic check-in and notification.
Smart connected buses are changing the way schools manage student transportation. Combining the capabilities of Cisco networking, Davra telematics and WWT custom software development allows schools to reduce costs, improve safety and make transportation more secure.