Queen Creek (Ariz.) Unified School District #95 strives to put its bus stops in residential neighborhoods, away from busy thoroughfares. Photo courtesy of Queen Creek (Ariz.) Unified School District #95.
Kerry Somerville says a day he’ll never forget is when he received a call that two students had been killed near one of his operation’s school bus stops. At the time, Somerville was the assistant transportation director at a school district in Alaska.
“[Following the accident], I got calls almost daily from one of the students’ parents asking me why I killed her child,” he says. “It was her contention that if the stop was in a different location, the accident never would have happened.”
Now involved in the supplier segment of the pupil transportation industry as director of business development at U.S. Computing Inc., Somerville says he is adamant with the transportation personnel at school districts and bus companies that he works with about how important bus stop location is in ensuring student safety.
What to consider with bus stop placement
Where possible, many operations try to situate their school bus stops in residential neighborhoods, off of major thoroughfares and as close to students’ houses as possible. Such is the case at Queen Creek (Ariz.) Unified School District #95.
Director of Transportation Edd Hennerley says that the routing software his operation uses — Routefinder Pro from Transfinder — helps in these efforts. The software identifies where each student lives, and then Hennerley and his team can identify that a stop needs to be established where there is, for example, a cluster of 10 students.
“We can specify what roads we don’t want the stop to be on,” Hennerley adds. “The software will then show us the closest location for a stop that’s not on those roads. We also have the option to place students at a stop other than what the program suggests.”
Joseph Rossi, director of global sales at Transfinder, adds that the company’s software keeps a table of all the bus stops that the user can edit, and the user can keep specific notes about each stop. In Transfinder’s newest version, the user can also include documents, such as a discipline report from students fighting or parent complaints of vandalism, for each bus stop.