Management

Education Firm Examines School Transportation Challenges, Opportunities

Posted on July 31, 2019
New research from Bellwether Education Partners analyzes challenges that districts and contractors face and pinpoints opportunities for improving service and cutting costs. File photo courtesy St. Mary's (Ohio) City Schools
New research from Bellwether Education Partners analyzes challenges that districts and contractors face and pinpoints opportunities for improving service and cutting costs. File photo courtesy St. Mary's (Ohio) City Schools

WASHINGTON, D.C. — New research from an education advisory firm evaluates the challenges involved in providing school transportation and pinpoints opportunities for improving service and cutting costs.

A slide deck report from Bellwether Education Partners, “The Challenges and Opportunities in School Transportation Today,” examines the scope and importance of the school transportation sector, analyzes the challenges that districts and contractors face when providing transportation services, highlights the critical decisions system leaders must make in allocating limited resources, and identifies opportunities for improving service and reducing costs.

The research focuses on six key challenges facing the school transportation sector:

Regulatory landscape: The intersection of federal and state laws related to school transportation means that districts and contractors often operate in complex regulatory environments.
Funding: State funding for school transportation is subject to legislative appropriations and has often been stagnant, requiring districts to offset costs by reducing service, delaying upgrades, or other means.
School choice: With the growth of school choice options and complex enrollment patterns, more students are crossing town to get to and from school, which places new demands on traditional transportation models built around neighborhood schools.
Data use: School transportation systems typically have access to less and lower-quality data than other transportation sectors, reducing their ability to provide service that is efficient and responsive.
Safety: School buses are the safest mode of student transportation, but safety agencies and advocates believe they should include seat belts, and students may face other risks related to traffic and personal safety.
Environmental impact: Diesel exhaust has negative effects on the environment and children’s health, but districts are often slow to replace older buses and make technological upgrades that could mitigate harm.

Despite these challenges, there are a number of opportunities to improve and innovate in school transportation, according to Bellwether’s research.

The firm recommends that states and districts invest in the tools and technology needed to make informed decisions about school transportation systems. States should provide adequate funding for school transportation services and prioritize capital investments — such as new buses and other infrastructure — that can lead to substantial long-term savings. Additionally, districts should consider innovative ways to collaborate on providing school transportation services, including partnerships among districts or improved coordination across sectors, according to Bellwether.

Bellwether also plans to release three policy briefs on Aug. 27 to supplement key components of the slide deck: one will cover school transportation and student safety; a second one will examine school transportation and environmental impact; and a third will review the intersection of school transportation, school integration, and school choice.

The new slide deck and Bellwether’s 2017 report, “Miles to Go: Bringing School Transportation Into the 21st Century,” are designed to serve as a fact base for policymakers, industry leaders, and others who want to improve their understanding of the school transportation sector.

Related Topics: cutting costs, efficiency

Comments ( 0 )
More Stories
Video

VIDEO: Creating Customized Financial Solutions for Your Fleet

Rill’s Bus Service in Westminster, Maryland, has been in the school bus business for 50 years. Learn how they utilize flexible financing options through Daimler Truck Financial to keep their business thriving. For more information, visit  http://bit.ly/2vUn1LF.

Product

Dashcam System

The NexTraq Dashcam can provide downloadable videos, real-time alerts, and live GPS location services for use in a variety of applications, including school transportation.

In his new role, Sean Waters will work with regulatory agency leadership on standard-setting initiatives for commercial vehicles, including those for Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) subsidiary Thomas Built Buses. Photo courtesy DTNA
News

Daimler Trucks North America Names New VP

As vice president of product compliance and regulatory affairs, Sean Waters will work with regulatory agency leadership on standard-setting initiatives for commercial vehicles, including for Thomas Built Buses.

The National Association for Pupil Transportation learned from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that it has not completed the Entry Level Driver Training registry due to technical issues. NAPT expects the ELDT deadline to be delayed. File photo courtesy Orange (Calif.) Unified School District
News

NAPT: Driver Training Deadline Delay Likely

The National Association for Pupil Transportation learns from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that it has not completed the Entry Level Driver Training registry due to technical issues. NAPT expects the ELDT deadline to be delayed.

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from SBF delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the school bus industry and don't miss a thing!