An Indiana district’s transportation department pitched in to help make it easier and quicker for students to distribute signs celebrating veterans on Wednesday, using its routing software program.
Katrina Falk, the director of transportation for Shelby Eastern Schools in Shelbyville, said in an email to routing software supplier Transfinder that its Routefinder Pro program played a key role in helping students get the signs out in honor of Veterans Day.
Thirty-five student council members from one of the district’s elementary schools and one of its junior-senior high schools delivered 40 yard signs to veterans in the community.
Distributing the signs is a new practice this year, since the district was unable to hold its traditional Veterans Day program due to the pandemic, Falk told School Bus Fleet. Typically, Shelby Eastern invites local veterans to its schools to participate in an event in which they are recognized and speak with the students. Students also put on band and choir performances and read essays at the event.
“Our schools thought outside of the box and came up with an idea that would allow them to safely celebrate our veterans this year, despite not being able to have a program,” she added.
Planning the project would have been time consuming, Falk said in the email, without the assistance of the routing software.
Falk told SBF that when she was initially approached by the elementary school principal with the idea last week, she knew quite a bit of geography would need to be covered and that creating a number of stops to accomplish the task would be essential.
“Since several the addresses were for individuals who do not currently have students in school, I knew I was going to have to scratch-build a new set of routes and not use our existing routes,” she said.
Due to her familiarity with Routefinder Pro, she knew she could use its tools to easily create the required routes. Another factor in deciding to use the routing software for the project was the short amount of time she had to prepare the routes for the project.
After splitting the veterans’ addresses into two routes, Falk explained in the email, she used the "Locate on Map" tool to find all the addresses on a routing map and create stops. From there, she was able to sequence the stops accordingly in the "Trip Information" box. Then, she drew the driving paths between each stop.
The routes were dedicated to this project, and the signs were delivered between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., she said.
“This process resulted in two well-planned, well-executed routes, and I'm happy to report both routes worked out perfectly and [the buses] arrived back at the school within minutes of one another,” Falk said in the message to Transfinder. “We couldn't have planned it better if we tried.”