Choosing the best school bus routing software for your school or bus company is important. While everyone is aware that schools are supposed to be safe spaces for children, the outside of the school premises could be dangerous. Part of how schools care for their students is to keep them safe even as they travel to and from school. The best school bus routing software optimizes routes, tracks students with pinpoint accuracy, monitors bus movement, and gives drivers turn-by-turn directions, allowing for the efficient and safe transport of students.
In this guide, you will find why you ought to use a school bus routing software and some example software from which you can choose.
Best School Bus Routing Software Table of Contents
- School Bus Statistics
- Why School Bus Routing Software Is Important
- List of the Top School Bus Routing Software
School Bus Statistics
National Safety Council (NSC) tabulations of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data show 54 school bus-related deaths in 2020, down over 50% from 2019. Fewer school bus trips likely occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. (NSC, 2021)
From 2011 to 2020, 70% of school bus-related deaths were non-bus occupants, and 16% were pedestrians, 5% were school bus passengers, 5% were drivers, and 3% were cyclists. In the same period, 33% of school bus crash victims were passengers, 8% were drivers, and 54% were other motorists. Others were pedestrians, pedal cyclists, or unknown. (NSC, 2021)
Source: National Safety Council (2020)
Despite education trends showing an increase in online learning, schools need buses to accommodate students attending in-person learning and ensure their safety. Taking a bus to school is 70 times safer than driving. School buses are the most regulated vehicles on the road; they’re designed to prevent crashes and injuries better than passenger vehicles, and stop-arm laws protect children from other drivers. (NHTSA, 2021) Meanwhile, the NSC supports lap-and-shoulder belts to increase safety. (NSC, 2021)
Half of the operators’ surveyed by the School Bus Flee reported changes in their procedures for transporting students with special needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, 63% said the percentage of their special needs passengers was the same as in the previous year. (Schlosser, 2021)
On average, 21% of the buses in the fleet of polled operators transport special-needs students. About a third of these operators said all their special needs buses have an electronic system to remind drivers to check for students after ending their route. Finally, 89% have some or all of their special-needs buses equipped with video surveillance systems. (Schlosser, 2021)
As of late, governments are looking into further making school buses safe. A bill in New York was introduced in May 2022 requiring school buses to have two stop-arm attachments, one on the driver’s side and one on the passenger side. At the same time, the environment-friendliness of buses is a concern. A New Jersey bill passed in May 2022 requires the Department of Environment Protection (DEP) to develop a three-year pilot program for 18 school districts to buy battery-powered buses and charge equipment. The state would fund the program with $45 million, or $15 million annually.
Why School Bus Routing Software Is Important
In fall 2020, 49.4 million students enrolled in public school prekindergarten to grade 12, including ungraded students. In February 2021, 43% enrolled in remote instruction, 21% hybrid, and 35% in-person. (NCES, 2022)
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
These schools use school buses to pick up and bring home their students. School bus routing software is essential as it provides accountability and insights. Bus operators can optimize fuel usage and scheduling by monitoring and tracking routes, among other things.
Here is a list of why school bus routing software is important for your business.
- Cost-cutting: Modern school bus routing software saves schools money in many ways. Since the software can detect optimal routes, operators can save on fuel, extending vehicles’ lives as wear and tear are reduced.
- Planning: With school bus routing software currently available, schools can manage transportation changes along with redistricting. They can generate hypothetical route maps, identify the best routes based on redistricting plans, and make optimal routing recommendations to save money.
- Weather Alerts: When weather conditions damage roads, the software determines alternate routes to transport students safely to and from school. The software sends real-time alerts about route changes, making things easier for students and parents.
- Map-making: Student movement causes mid-semester route changes. Bus routing software digitizes the work; addresses, needs, and other student information are entered into a database, and the software plots the best routes in minutes. It can create hypothetical maps or optimize routes based on the school’s priorities.
- Guest drivers: Drivers get sick, take vacations, and have personal issues. School bus software’s optimization feature allows authorities to quickly find a substitute driver when a regular driver is absent.
- Calendars: School schedules, sessions, and breaks vary. Public and private school schedules are different. Identifying alternative routes lets drivers know the routes in advance, and students and parents can receive instant alerts about changes.
- License alert: The routing software alerts drivers when their licenses expire, preventing drivers from being unavailable due to license expiration. The software also performs background checks on drivers.
More importantly, school bus routing software improves safety, productivity, and transparency. GPS tracker, for example, collects vehicle data, which the system analyzes, establishing performance benchmarks and tracking their achievement over time. Besides, school bus ridership saves 20 million tons of CO2 annually by removing 17 million cars from the daily commute. (American School Bus Council, 2022)
List of the Top School Bus Routing Software
1. TripSpark: End-to-End Solutions
TripSpark features a K-12 school transportation software suite that has a unique multi-calendar interface. The software has been around for over 30 years. Chosen by more than 50% of the largest schools in North America, TripsSpark transports 1.8 million students with 50,000 buses.
- Calendar-Based Routing and Scheduling
- GPS Bus Tracking
- Bus Driver Management
- Dealing With Student Schedule Changes
- Ensuring PLAN matches the ACTUAL
- Students with Special Needs
2. Samsara for K-12: Instantly Account for Students
Samsara for K-12 is a new school transportation technology. It gives K-12 schools end-to-end visibility into student transportation with real-time GPS, cameras that sync to the cloud, a quick-search user interface, etc. The technology helps schools deliver accurate information to parents, improve on-time bus performance, save drivers and administrators time, and offer the most integrated school bus safety solution.
- Real-Time GPS
- Real-Time Video
- Student tracking with ID cards
- Remote monitoring of stop paddles and bus conditions
- School surveillance, ensuring safety on school property.
- Capture critical events with a click of a button.
- Instant video footage, no retrieval request
- Reward and coach drivers with real-time alerts and automated tools to standardize incident review and training.
- Live engine diagnostics and fault alerts to identify buses that need servicing.
- Import or integrate routes from planning tools to compile rosters, balance busloads, and monitor GPS.
- Automate everything from school bus inspections to activity bus sanitization.
- Track driver schedules, overtime, incomplete shifts, and absences with the mobile driver app.
3. Safe Fleet: Make School Journeys Safer
Safe Fleet’s school bus camera systems and danger zone technology help keep students safe. Its real-time fleet tracking and route management systems ensure school buses run on time and safely. The bus inspection services ensure safety and efficiency. Student ridership solutions improve safety and school district/parent accountability.
- Video surveillance
- Live streaming
- Fleet maintenance
- Smart Safety Systems
- Manage & View Video
- Connected Bus
- Capture incidents onboard and help drivers focus on the road.
- Integrate smart solutions to protect students outside the bus
- Plan better routes
- Track fleet in real-time
- Stop arms that warn traffic to protect embarking and disembarking students.
- Collect real-time student location
4. School Bus Manager: School Bus Routing Made Easy
School Bus Manager is a simple routing program. After importing student data and configuring parameters, users can build trips and routes with turn-by-turn directions, accurate stop times, etc. It is web-based, so no installation is required.
- Build routes
- Turn-by-turn directions
- Take attendance
- Search children
- Organize school sections
- Simple data import
- Initial account setup and configuration
- Daily data backups
- Unlimited buses and drivers
- Unlimited support
- Unlimited routes
- Free updates
- Unlimited users
- 30-day free trial
- Four plans: Lite (500 children), Plus (1,000 children), Standard (2,500 children), and Pro (5,000 children).
- The price starts at $99 per month, paid annually
- Minimum commitment of 12 months
5. BusWhere: Real-Time Tracking on the Map
BusWhere lets you watch buses in real-time and see how long they spend at each stop to help inform parents. Any Bus, Any Route automatically moves buses on and off routes for maintenance without reconfiguration. Meanwhile, instead of calling for information, parents can use an app.
- Monitor buses on one map
- View vehicle location, speed, fuel levels, and other telematics
- Replay (DVR-style) any route from any day. Drag to see what happened on that route that day.
- Download raw data in Excel-friendly format for offline analysis, graphing, filtering, etc.
- Plug-and-play installation using standard interfaces
- Using current traffic conditions: click any bus to get an instant ETA
- Drag stops around the route to generate “what-if” scenarios.
- See the impact of adding and removing stops
- View historical ETAs for each stop
- Download a free iPhone or Android app for riders to know their arrival time.
- Notify parents when the bus is minutes away as well as ETA.
6. TrackSchoolBus: Integrated Route Planner
Get real-time tracking and updates on students’ location, boarding, deboarding, and even emergencies. TrackSchoolBus contains a route planner that allows schools to integrate data from school management software, such as student information such as names, admissions, and residences and add pick-up sites based on radius and email verification. Through this cloud-based transportation management technology, parents and school bus administrators can easily manage routing, scheduling, payments, and other activities.
- Instantly record student attendance with no errors.
- Track students’ whereabouts in real-time and receive quick notifications in the event of an emergency or incident.
- Manage school bus scheduling and routing with automatic route optimization from pick-up to drop-off points.
- Track the school bus using our specialized apps for each specific user, such as parents and transportation managers.
- Manage school transportation easily with the Trip Card integrated into its TrackSchoolBus system.
- Use the Parent App to pay bus fares, school fees, and other expenses.
- School officials can divide students into teams, plan trips, assign drivers, specify start and endpoints, and track students during field trips using geofencing.
7. Loqqat: Drag and Drop Route Planning
With this user-friendly program, you can easily track students’ arrival and departure from campus. Loqqat is a full system for real-time tracking school buses during their travel. Combining data into interactive dashboards increases communication between schools and parents. Parents are regularly informed of the exact location of each bus and any delays of more than four minutes.
- Track school buses using Google API with ETA to avoid long waits at the bus stop.
- Monitor students’ locations using a mobile app. Receive notifications when the student boards the bus and drops at a registered bus stop and when there is any delay in the bus arrival.
- Design optimal routes easily and conveniently using drag and drop options of pins in the intuitive map with automatic route optimization.
- The live-tracking interface allows the school transport team to monitor bus locations during trips and find out who has boarded and who has not.
- Get comprehensive reports on student attendance trends, driver compliance, efficiency, and the participation of teachers, transport teams, and other stakeholders.
8. Verizon Connect: Safe and Efficient Bus Travel
Verizon Connect helps boost accountability, improve driver safety, reduce idling, and control school transportation fuel expenditures by using GPS tracking. The school bus app, Parent Portal, provides parents with real-time and accurate information directly on their phones. The school can use messaging to communicate with parents individually, by bus, school, route, or customizable groupings.
- Use GPS monitoring to track vehicle movements in and out of school bus yards and drop-off sites.
- Real-time bus tracking allows fleet managers to see the routes of their buses and reduce waiting time.
- Cut idling time, speeding, and inefficient bus routes to reduce fuel usage.
- Educate drivers using proactive coaching tools to teach drivers how to avoid unsafe driving habits that cause wear and tear.
- Monitor excessive idling to help reduce harmful emissions around schools.
9. Lynx Transportation Solutions: All-in-One School Bus Management Solution
Lynx reduces costs by improving school bus routes more efficiently and streamlining procedures. Keep your fleet, drivers, students, and routes under your control, and take charge of your bus schedule information. Create customized reports fast and easily to fulfill transportation norms and regulations. Parents may view routes, stations, students, drivers, work orders, and normal bus stops from any online browser. In an emergency, such as an incident or a route delay, parents are notified via text message.
- Add student records and information easily by dragging and dropping students’ names to route them.
- Cost and fuel tracking.
- GPS Tracking
- Maintenance history and scheduling
- Tire and Parts Inventory Management
- Repair and warranty tracking
- Vehicle Information
- Work Order Management
- Dispatch and driver management
- Field Trip Management
- Parent Portal
- Route Optimization and territory management
- $1,795 one-time fee
- Free trial is available
10. Versatrans Product Suite: Superior Transport Tracking
A product by Tyler Technologies, a provider of some of the best school management software on the market, Versatrans Product Suite provides superior transportation services to a community using this smart set of tools. Calculate the most cost-effective and efficient routes using smart maps and management safety guidelines. Receive real-time data, engine codes, accident recreation, and other features using integrated telematics.
- Keep parents and employees informed by using a student transportation information portal.
- Reduce customer service calls as parents and staff receive alerts about bus arrival times.
- Managing GPS data in real-time can help you to improve accountability and safety.
- Analyze routes and optimize routing while cutting operating costs.
- Plan and manage your activity travels with automated email notifications and a user-defined permission process.
- Maintain the efficiency and accountability of your school district’s fleet.
11. Routefinder Pro: Boost Route Planning Efficiency
Routefinder Pro is one of the most user-friendly and intuitive platforms for managing bus routes, students, and drivers for school bus fleets. What-if scenarios and notifications are included in planning and scheduling.
- Manage bus routes, students, and drivers with ease.
- Analyze bus routes and pick-up locations and react rapidly to changes using Transfinder’s GPS Connect.
- To improve service and minimize operating expenses, create and analyze “what if” scenarios.
- Integrate with district-wide student information systems seamlessly;
- Boost efficiencies, improve services and cut expenses.
- Optimize your trips by modifying stop sequences automatically based on time or distance. Incremental reductions in travel time or distance result in efficiency and large savings.
- Get records of previous routes in the past year.
- Simple data import.
12. BusPlanner: Scalable Route Planning
BusPlanner is a user-friendly transportation management program. It aids educational institutions in streamlining routing, employee data administration, costing, and other tasks. School transport teams may add bus stops, check population data, and manage student information in one system. Save time and money by optimizing routes, automating chores, and improving communication with parents and service providers.
- A powerful optimization toolkit includes “what-if” scenarios to help you create the optimum transportation option. Integrated analytical tools assist in the evaluation of possibilities and the making of better judgments.
- More efficient school bus routes save time and money for everyone. Whether you operate 20 or 2,000 bus routes, the BusPlanner Suite provides you with tools to plan your routes, analyze your solution, and optimize your operation for higher efficiency.
- BusPlanner Finance also offers full connectivity with SIS (Student Information System) to automatically input learner data, allowing you to manage funds in real-time and produce invoices.
- Using the transportation information site BusPlanner Info, transfer BusPlanner data to external applications such as student information systems, GPS apps, and IVR technologies.
- Get live, professional technical help from the BusPlanner Help Desk
13. SafeBus: Live Monitoring with Zero-Touch Setup
SafeBus is a self-service SaaS application that allows you to manage your school buses easily. SafeBus provides schools with the tools, software, and expertise to run their fleets of school buses, with zero-touch setup and contextually assisted workflow. Control school buses without leaving the comfort of your classroom.
- Route Optimization
- RFID card & reader
- SOS panic button
- Video monitoring and live reports
- CCTV, Wi-Fi, and Live Streaming camera
- Driver Behavior Monitoring
- Real-Time GPS Tracking and vehicle location tracker
- Vehicle details, driver details, ETA, and more.
- SOS Alerts and route deviation alerts during emergencies
- Parent Portal
- Student Information system
- Field Trip Management
14. BatOnRoute: Constant Alerts for Parent’s Peace of Mind
BatOnRoute offers efficient and safe school transportation administration by improving information flow between educational facilities and parents. This dynamic and user-friendly school bus route management software enhances school administration. It gives parents more security and peace of mind by sending real-time information on their phones without requiring them to install equipment or change buses.
- ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) notifications at the bus stop
- Notifications of child’s boarding and disembarking
- Notifications of student arrival and departure from school
- Real-time bus GPS tracker on the in-app map
- Automatic notifications of incidents and delays
- Simple child’s absence marking and notifications
- Easy route, stop, and student assignment management
- Simple route modification management
- Monitoring of student boarding and disembarking in real-time
- Bus locations and time spent at stops are tracked in real-time.
- Distance traveled calculation
- Seating assignment for support bubble monitoring
- Simple branding customization
- No physical equipment will be installed
15. BusBoss: Simple GPS Monitoring for Students and Buses
BusBoss is a smart solution that helps your school district save money by incorporating features that promote safe school bus transportation. It uses simple GPS monitoring and school bus routing software to ensure that every child gets home safely. It is adaptable and adjustable to meet your transportation management needs, with integrated applications and add-ons for easy school bus routing and schedule administration.
- GPS Tracking System for buses and students
- Route optimization
- Automatic update of student information system
- A web-based field trip management tool for scheduling, budgeting, and monitoring field trips.
- Follow the Department of Education’s regulations when planning ridership
- Mileage tracking and multiple route support improve efficiency and better manage routes and drivers, resulting in savings on fuel, costs, and bus efficiency.
- Capture real-time routing data for driver management
- Billing assist
- Paratransit and territory management
- Unlimited users
- Online training
- Price starts at $2,800/One-Time fee
16. busHive: Easy-to-Use Bus Management Solution
busHive helps bus contractors to handle driver management, client billing, dispatch operations, and more. It provides easy-to-use tools for managing field trips, bus charters, driver compliance, and vehicle maintenance.
- Route optimization
- Dispatch management
- Driver management
- Simple itinerary system
- Maintenance planning solutions
School Bus Routing Sofware for Children’s Safety
The best school bus routing software helps schools monitor their students and ensure that they are safe on their way to school and back to their homes. On top of ensuring children’s safety, such software also helps schools save money and time as they can find optimal routes and monitor vehicles for maintenance, thus reducing the wear and tear of their buses, subsequently saving them money.
Besides, school bus mapping software frees schools from creating manual routing to save time. They merely encode students’ addresses, and the software sets the routes, finding the optimal routes in the process.
Ultimately, schools benefit significantly from the best school management software , which also helps them uphold the rights of schoolchildren–the right to stay safe and healthy.