System notifies parent when child enters or exits bus

Posted on December 13, 2011
With ZPass+, parents can receive alerts on their cell phones when their child enters or exits a school bus.
With ZPass+, parents can receive alerts on their cell phones when their child enters or exits a school bus.

SEATTLE — Zonar's new ZPass+ provides parents with instant notifications when their child boards and exits a school bus.

ZPass+ is designed to coincide with Zonar's ZPass solution. With ZPass, students are issued a unique RFID identification card. As the student passes the ZPass reader upon boarding and exiting the bus, the time, date and location are transmitted to a secure database.

ZPass integrates with Zonar's HD-GPS technology that captures data in four dimensions, including latitude, longitude, time and speed at every data collection point. This provides administrators with a clear view of the bus' path, each stop and start, as well as the time, date and location at which the door was opened.

School districts access the vehicle and ridership data via a secure web browser connection to ensure the safety of bus-riding students.

ZPass+ now provides specific student rider information to parents through a password-protected website. After setting up an account, parents can create notification preferences by cell phone text message and e-mail.

Parents can access ZPass+ only if the school district offers the program.

Freeport (Ill.) School District #145 was part of a pilot program for ZPass+ and is offering the service to parents.

"ZPass+ is an excellent tool for parents," said Dallas Rackow, director of transportation for the district. "Calls to the transportation department are no longer necessary, because parents have that information on their cell phones. Student ridership tracking with ZPass provides us with a level of security and confidence we didn't know was possible. It has eliminated the anxiety associated with locating a child that didn't get off the bus."

Officials said the new technology is especially useful for children walking to and from a bus stop, and for special-needs children. Parents can now better coordinate pickup and drop-off knowing precisely when the bus has arrived.

Additionally, earlier in 2011, ZPass was recognized with the Edison Best New Product Award in the Innovative Services for Health, Wellness and Safety category.

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