SEATTLE — Zonar Systems introduced two new product offerings during this year's National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) Summit.
The first is the latest version of the company's patented ZPass solution. The new ZPass hardware is roughly half the size of the original, includes several new functionalities requested by customers and is offered at half the price of the original, according to Zonar. Also, in 2011, Zonar will introduce ZRoute, a robust, user-friendly routing system.
In 2001, Zonar installed the first Electronic Vehicle Inspection Report (EVIR) system ever installed, and it was on a yellow school bus. Today, more than 100,000 vehicles are equipped with Zonar technologies throughout North America, the company reports.
"In 2009, Freeport Schools won the Zonar/NAPT Transportation Equipment Grant," said Dallas Rackow, director of transportation for Freeport (Ill.) School District 145. "I applied for the grant because I wanted to transform our pupil transportation department into a model of safety, security and operational leadership."
Rackow's top-five list of improvements enabled by Zonar's Electronic Fleet Management system includes:
• "Electronic Vehicle Inspections verify that pre- and post-trip inspections are getting done. I used to randomly place sticky notes on inspection points to ensure performance. Thanks to EVIR those days are long gone."
• "Ground Traffic Control provides idle reports that we use to educate drivers about the cost of unnecessary idling. Idling dropped after I placed a data board in the drivers' lounge showing possible saving and what that money could purchase for the school."
• "GPS on the bus has made it possible to monitor speed and eased the paperwork burden, including providing proof of safe railroad crossings, as required by state law."
• "Engine Diagnostics has allowed us to intervene when the check engine light has come on, so we can protect the operation of the equipment and safety of the riders."
• "Student Ridership Tracking has eliminated the anxiety associated with locating a child that didn't get off the bus. What used to take 15 minutes is now 30 seconds with ZPass. We can also produce our Medicaid reimbursement paperwork automatically for the special-needs students riding the bus."