A pilot program providing school buses with green lights at traffic signals shows improvements in travel time, enhanced student safety, fuel consumption, and a reduction in harmful emissions. The demonstrated improvements in overall efficiency may help address the critical nationwide bus driver shortage.
Data was collected from two Fulton County School System (FCSS) buses, one diesel and one propane powered, as they served students in the City of Alpharetta, Georgia. Connected Vehicle to Everything (C-V2X) technology provided by Applied Information enabled the school buses to request green light priority at 62 traffic signals along their respective routes.
As stated in the study report prepared by Kimley-Horn: “(The Pilot Program) demonstrated a clear and measurable reduction in route travel time for both school buses as a result of the decrease in total number of unscheduled stops and an increase in average speed of the bus along the route. Less time on the road and fewer bus stops equates to direct safety and mobility benefits for the bus driver, students, parents, nearby motorists, and the FCSS. The Pilot Program enabled bus drivers to more frequently arrive at school on time and allow students to eat breakfast before going to class and starting their day.”
“The pilot program demonstrates the ability of the public and private sectors to work together and develop new and creative solutions for improving school transportation safety and efficiency,” said Bryan Mulligan, President of Applied Information. “These solutions applied across the national fleet of approximately 500,000 school buses would prove significant time and fuel savings as well as substantial reductions in CO2 emissions.”
“With about 86% of the nation’s school districts experiencing a driver shortage, improving the safety and efficiency of the fleet is critical,” said Trey Stow, Director of Transportation – Operations for Fulton County Schools. “The pilot showed we can use this technology to make our fleet more efficient and serve more students safely in a shorter amount of time, all while reducing our fuel bill and helping the environment.”
As the leading school bus manufacturer, IC Bus is committed to the safe and on-time transport of students. Partnerships and pilot programs such as this one with Applied Information and Fulton County School District demonstrate our support of technologies that enhance school bus safety and efficiency,” said Sean Slyman, director, Connected Services for Navistar, Inc., the parent company of IC Bus, LLC.
The report further stated: “Improved on time performance as a result of the Pilot Program meant less time that buses were running behind schedule which reduced stress on the bus driver and allowed them to spend more time focused on safe driving and onboard student behavior. Experience has shown that students onboard a school bus are more likely to stand up and/or engage in unsafe behaviors when the bus stops. By reducing the number of times the bus made unscheduled stops along its route, the Pilot Program was able to reduce the likelihood that students engage in these types of activities and generally created a more safe environment onboard the school bus.
Last, but certainly not least, the reduction in travel times, higher average speeds, and less frequent stops resulted in a significant decrease in the amount of fuel consumed by the school bus. The reduction in fuel consumption produced by the Pilot Program translates to direct savings of FCSS expenditures on fuel and a reduces harmful emissions from the school bus. By reducing emissions, the Pilot Program can improve overall air quality and create a more healthy and livable community.”
Fulton County School System, Kimley-Horn, IC Bus, LLC, City of Alpharetta, Metro Trafix, Temple, Inc., HEM Data, Blue Bird, Applied Information, Infrastructure Automotive Technology Laboratory (iATL).
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