TripSpark believes all students are special; some just need a little lift
Students with special needs require extra support and consideration when it comes to transportation to and from school. A positive, benign experience on the way to school is crucial for every student—but it’s particularly important for students with special needs who find it hard to thrive without structure and consistency.
A big part of providing a positive transportation experience for students with special needs is ensuring no routing complications arise along the way. School districts have struggled with this challenge for a long time, but not anymore. Not when a few routing software solutions are worth their weight in gold on the market today. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about routing software for special needs children, including the why and how of choosing one.
Why Should You Use Routing Software for Special Needs Children?
School authorities can reap many benefits by utilizing advanced special needs routing software. Here are the most outstanding ones:
1. Ready Access to Information that Improves Students' Safety
In addition to the driver, a bus full of special needs students has to have an adult aide. Both parties depend on specific documentation to watch over the students and ensure their special needs are catered for while on the road. At best, the documentation will most likely serve its purpose well, albeit at risk of being forgotten in the office. At worst, it can get lost while on the move, consequently putting students’ safety at risk.
Now, imagine if this documentation resided in routing software. Rather than flipping through clunky papers every morning, the driver and the adult aid receive helpful information regarding the incoming students on their mobile phones. The automated nature of these alerts allows drivers to access the necessary information and move on quickly, so they can concentrate fully while on the road and safely bring students to school or home.
In other cases, the routing software can prove vital in alerting adult aides when a student has a wheelchair requirement. If and when that happens, the aide can organize special equipment, such as a lift and a designated space for the wheelchair, way before the ride begins. This way, the student gets to enjoy a safe, structured ride to and from school—the perfect prerequisite for a productive day in class.
2. It's a Big Cost Saver
Advanced routing software for school buses ferrying special needs students allows the administration to save an outstanding amount of money across various facets.
- Schools can do without the expensive taxi rides, especially when it’s just one special needs student using the service.
- Schools can save considerable money on fuel costs since a driver won’t ever have to request another bus with additional conveniences such as a car seat, a low floor for wheelchair access, and the like.
- The ability of users to collect and analyze data on the go enables school authorities to track and spot the latest trends easily. As a result, they can sort out minor problems and design solutions before they become more significant problems.
- The driver tracking feature allows administrators to recognize the best and most cost-effective drivers easily.
What Should You Look For in a Routing Software?
Quality special needs routing software should include features to address the unique considerations of ferrying students with special needs. Key features to look for include:
A core function of any planning software, route optimization relies on sophisticated algorithms to determine the quickest and most efficient route to school. This goes a long way in reducing on-board times—frankly, every special needs student’s worst nightmare.
GPS tracking and automatic vehicle location (AVL)
This feature ensures that drivers follow pre-designated optimal and safe routes. RFID student tracking cards offer additional location data that parents and approved staff can access quickly and conveniently.
Real-time alerts and dispatch management
Specialized software facilitates real-time communication between drivers and dispatchers or administrators to solve unexpected disruptions, such as delays and emergencies.
Driver mobile app
Bus drivers must have access to the routing program while traveling on their way. Mobile deployment on Android and iPhone is a no-brainer. Drivers can simply log into the app specifically designed for them and receive information regarding care requirements, wheelchairs, emergency contacts, physicians to contact, aides, car seats, harnesses, and restraints. With all this information available at the tap of a screen, drivers can make informed decisions in mere seconds.
What Can You Expect From Routing Software to Manage Transportation for Special Needs Students?
When you make an easy-to-use, all-in-one routing software a critical part of your transportation program for special needs students, you immediately say hello to:
- On-the-go convenience: By using software that alerts the dispatcher and the driver of the necessary information, you ensure buses are prepared for each special needs student—no more guilt-ridden mid-morning calls to parents. No more splashing the big bucks on taxi rides and additional drivers.
- Complete students’ safety: You’ll never have to contend with the thought of a special needs student waiting hopelessly at the bus stop with minimal supervision. All the information your drivers, dispatchers, and adult aides need to make every ride safe and secure for students will be available at their earliest opportunity, all the time.
- Happier, more contented students: Did you know that it can take up to 45 minutes to help a child refocus after an upsetting incident or a disruptive trip to school? When a special needs student’s day starts off on the wrong foot, it can translate into a negative learning experience for the entire school day. Thankfully, with advanced special needs routing software, such inconveniences will be a thing of the past.
Keep Making Your Special Needs Student Feel Truly Special
Special needs students are…special. Unlike other students, they endearingly require a little more support, a little more care, and a bit of love. As a key decision-maker in the transportation department of a school with such students, it’s your solemn duty to make their learning experience as enjoyable and frictionless as possible. But if there’s one takeaway from this article, your work is now cut out for you in that department, thanks to advanced routing software. From here onwards, managing routing requirements are about to become one less thing to worry about. Cheers.
If you’re looking to get started right here, TripSpark has the routing you need to safely and conveniently transport special needs students. We believe all students are special; some just need a little lift. Please request a FREE DEMO of our software today and watch it in full swing working its magic.