CHARLESTON, S.C. — School districts in Illinois and New York will start using SafeStop, an app that connects parents and school officials to the vehicles transporting their students, at the beginning of the 2015-16 school year.

The app will provide parents and caretakers of students in Evanston/Skokie (Ill.) School District 65 and the Lockport (N.Y.) City School District with a real-time map feature that displays the location of their child's bus and estimated arrival times at their bus stop.

Accessible from any device connected to the Internet, the app is designed to reduce calls asking about the location of a student's bus, if they missed it, or when it will get to their stop, and to provide a higher level of security and real-time information to parents.

"Our registration process is designed so that only the parents and caregivers of the students can access their students' vehicle information on the app,” said Patrick Gallagher, director of sales for SafeStop. “And once the parents sign up, we're confident they'll find that it is easy to use and an extremely convenient tool to interact with every day."

The app also includes an alerts and messaging center to relay service information from the school or transportation provider to serve as an extra communication channel, according to SafeStop. Schools can use SafeStop to alert parents of school closures, delayed openings or important events coming up at the school, company officials said. School officials will also be able to use the information collected by SafeStop to establish and review key performance indicators for their transportation system so they can evaluate and improve operations.

The app first became available to select school districts in New York, Florida and South Carolina last fall and is expanding to schools and universities across the U.S. and soon in Canada, according to SafeStop.

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