Next year, student transportation alternative provider Zum plans to add new safety features.
"When it comes to our children, there is nothing more important than their safety, and the chief benefit of modernizing student transportation is greatly enhancing students' safety and well-being," said Ritu Narayan, Zum's founder and CEO. "We have built transparency into the fabric of our platform and experience, in order to offer the safest transportation option for students and their families. In adding these new capabilities, we continue to raise the bar for the industry, and take a proactive, predictive, and preventative approach to student transportation safety."
Through the Zum app, parents are able to view the complete profile of their child's driver, along with real-time information about vehicle location and their child's pickup or dropoff status based on RFID technology that each student scans when getting on and off the bus. District administrators and operators are able to track rides in a map view from start to finish and routes are adjusted in real time to account for absent students or traffic issues. At the same time, drivers can preview all students on assigned routes, along with supplemental information for each student where necessary.
Additionally, all drivers are trained on and required to adhere to specific safety protocols while picking up or dropping off students and while driving. In addition to cameras on board to monitor for bullying and behavior issues, the Zum platform also supports timely reporting and escalation of issues encountered during rides.
New features coming to the platform include:
- Digitized daily safety checks: Zum has digitized visibility of routes, including live route adjustments to account for any cancellations or changes, live route navigation specific to school buses, as well as student check-ins and check-outs. Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, Zum is adding to this capability by digitizing the start and end of day safety checks. Historically drivers have had to complete a manual safety check at the beginning of each route, which could result in reporting errors and missed items. The Zum driver app will digitize the daily check, making it easier, faster, and safer to confirm each bus is in good condition before picking up a single child.
- Student information system integrations: Zum will integrate with district student information systems. Zum technology supports student profile details, including picture, special instructions, and customized route details. With this information, drivers will be better equipped to verify pick-ups and drop-offs, as well as provide the right support for students with special needs. Integration also will increase the Zum profile picture completion rate from 70% to more than 90%, which ensures that the driver can confirm the correct student has boarded and offboarded the bus, and provides an additional layer of security on top of the RFID card scans by the students.
- Last stop, last check: Zum will install digital tags throughout every vehicle that must be scanned as part of each driver's process at the end of the day, to ensure that no students are left on the vehicle after its route concludes. Traditionally, end-of-the-day check has been a massive pain point with responsibility left to driver and manual reporting. A digitized confirmed check in the daily workflow for drivers ensures there are no errors in the process.