PLANO, Texas — First Student has partnered with Tyler Technologies for a pilot program that will equip some of its school buses with new customized in-vehicle tablet software.
As part of the partnership, First Student has built a platform that can receive data from any major source and transform it into a common data set, according to a news release from Tyler. In addition, Tyler has developed a technology to pull that data into a custom tablet, powered by Tyler Drive software, so First Student can provide a consistent experience for its drivers, regardless of where the route data is coming from. The integration between the tablet and First Student’s back-end system, according to Tyler, is designed to connect various parts of its operations, including routes, drivers, vehicles, GPS, and payroll.
“At First Student, our bus drivers drive more miles in a day than most school districts drive in a year, so we needed a strong partner that could help us develop a solution to address our unique needs,” said Dean Suhre, senior vice president of performance improvement for First Student. “We believe Tyler’s level of innovation matches our own, and we’re excited about the pilot program we’ve launched to enhance our day-to-day operations.”
First Student is currently piloting the tablet solution in seven districts across the country and plans to install the technology in most of its buses in the next two years, according to Tyler.
At one of the seven pilot sites, First Student location manager Michelle Taber said that “the number-one benefit [of the tablet] is the audible directions, which give drivers the tools they need to provide safer service to our students.”
The tablet also includes a Motion Lock feature that is designed to prevent the driver from interacting with the tablet while the bus is in motion, according to Tyler. As part of the pilot rollout, and eventually to other First Student sites, Tyler and First Student said that they will conduct uniform training and onboarding to get drivers familiar with the tablet technology.
In other news, Tyler recently announced that it now has more than 2,000 clients using its student transportation management solutions: Versatrans and Traversa.
Both Tyler and its student transportation group have experienced significant and accelerated growth in recent years. Between 2016 and 2018, the group added more than 570 school districts and transportation contractors to its transportation client base, with another 140 having joined so far in 2019, according to the company. More than 120 of the clients added since 2016 are from the state of New York, which is where Tyler's student transportation solutions office is located.
Tyler recently partnered with districts in Oregon, Texas, Florida, Virginia, and the Canadian province of British Columbia.