Optimized routing is a crucial aspect of fleet management, helping school bus contractors and transportation directors alike to streamline operations and improve efficiency across their organizations. Done right, routing frees up time and resources, empowering contractors like our partner Krise Transportation to do what they do best: ensure safe, reliable access to education for all students.  

Read on to explore the benefits of efficient route planning and scheduling, and how taking a deeper look at routing can contribute to improved fleet management.  

What factors affect routing? 

Routing is a multifaceted discipline that takes into account complex factors – many outside a contractor’s control – including student distribution, traffic patterns, road conditions, and district schedules. The ability to leverage routing technology in tandem with best practices is a key skill set that top-tier school bus contractors offer their educational partners.  

By adopting routing best practices, contractors are better equipped to control some of the costs of fleet management, as well as create wide-ranging benefits for employees, school districts, students, and their families. 

Efficient routing for better use of resources 

Efficient route planning ensures that a school bus fleet is used to its maximum potential – but it goes beyond the vehicles on the road. When a contractor’s routing is on point, the contractor gains insights into hiring needs, employee schedules, fuel consumption, maintenance plans, community perceptions, and overall productivity within the company.  

Digging into optimized routing in more detail, we see the following benefits as they relate to fleet management: 

Reduced fuel consumption 

Routing efficiencies help minimize the distance traveled by school buses, which in turn leaves more fuel in the tank each day. By identifying the most efficient paths and eliminating unnecessary detours, contractors can lower their fuel expenses – perhaps even significantly. The best part is, using less fuel not only contributes to cost savings, but also promotes environmentally sound practices by reducing carbon emissions.  

Extended vehicle lifespan 

Well-planned routes result in less wear and tear on school buses. By lowering the total miles driven and the number of starts and stops over the long term, contractors have a bit more control over maintenance and repairs, minimizing unexpected breakdowns and reducing the need for premature vehicle replacements. 

Improved driver satisfaction 

Efficient routing also contributes in real ways to driver satisfaction. By providing bus drivers with well-designed routes, contractors can increase overall productivity and reduce stress levels. When bus drivers know they work in a thoughtful, efficient organization, they’ll feel more satisfied with their role and better able to focus on their responsibility of ensuring the well-being of students on board and timely delivery to their destinations. 

More precise hiring 

There’s an obvious connection between proper staffing and fleet management – and optimized routing plays a role here as well. When routes are at their most efficient, contractors are able to plan more precisely for the number of drivers, monitors, and technicians they’ll need to keep everything running smoothly. With an appropriate number of experienced, engaged drivers, possible maintenance issues in the fleet can be promptly spotted and reported. Meanwhile, a properly staffed team of technicians is able to complete planned, preventive school bus maintenance on schedule and quickly take care of unexpected repairs. 

Enhanced safety measures 

Optimized routing can enhance safety, too. By carefully planning routes to avoid potentially hazardous road conditions and minimize exposure to high-traffic zones, contractors and transportation directors can proactively mitigate the risk of accidents. This not only contributes to a safer onboard environment for students, but also means longer overall lifespans for fleet vehicles as the chances for collision are reduced. 

Regulatory compliance 

Every student transportation professional knows there’s a myriad of regulations and standards set by federal, state, and local authorities. Optimized routing supports compliance by considering factors such as maximum travel time limits, age-specific seating requirements, and minimum or maximum occupancy standards, among others. With routing software and experience guiding their decisions, school bus contractors and transportation directors can offer safer travel and consistent compliance. 

Better community relations 

One notable effect of routing efficiencies is better community relations. By providing convenient, reliable bus programs, contractors and transportation directors can foster positive relationships with parents and build trust in their transportation program. Satisfied parents are more likely to have confidence in the school district, transportation directors, and contractors, and support their initiatives. 

Contact us 

If you are a student transportation provider seeking resources for fleet management, reach out to us. We’re ready to build a path to partnership. 

American Student Transportation Partners (ASTP) is a national network of reliable student transportation providers. We’re driving the future of student transportation by providing access to education through safe, reliable student transportation programs. Exceptional bus operators choose ASTP because of our innovative approach to partnership, as well as the resources we provide to help “future-proof” their operations. 

To learn more about partnering with ASTP, contact Tod Eskra, President, at [email protected] or call (314) 560-5946.