Document that the local school bus fleet has optimized routes, start times, boundaries, vehicle efficiency and fuels, driver actions to cut costs including idling reduction, and shifting students from the bus to walking, biking and city transit.
Implement at least two strategies, which can include training drivers in fuel-efficient driving, adopting a no idling policy/practice. Report Safe Routes to School (shifting students from the bus to biking/walking) implementation results under best practice action 12.2
Use of route optimizer software, or city buses, or other techniques to reduce bus usage.
Documentation (including energy and costs) of implementation of actions.
Who's doing it
Coon Rapids - 3 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Keith Paulson is the Transportation Director for the Anoka-Hennepin School District that manages 323 buses serving 38,000 students K-12. The entire district has a no idling policy for all buses especially related to location of buses to reduce emissions near schools or where students are nearby. They have also worked hard to optimize start and end times of schools to ensure the most efficient routes are able to be used. The strive to ensure buses service multiple schools within a day. They also completed an extensive study to make bus routes most efficient but expanding how far students walk to bus stops. This study also included planning routes with the least amount of driving for buses, especially in residential neighborhoods. Routes are now more streamlined and as a result more efficient.
Because the district contracts their bus services, they work to maximize the buses when they are being used. A 3 year study was completed to ensure buses have maximized seating capacity. They found that about 75-80% of elementary and middle school students ride the bus and only about 40% of high school students. Using this information, they have rerouted buses to ensure they are at appropriate seating capacities. This resulted in 20 less buses needed for the district. They continue to make adjustments as needed. These conscious efforts have made the district more efficient, saved money and allowed them to put more money into the classrooms.
Saint Paul now has a fleet of 66 school buses that run on propane instead of diesel. These vehicles emit 60% fewer carbon monoxide emissions, and heat up faster than buses that run on diesel, which is better for drivers and students in the wintertime.
ISD 196 in Eagan uses a computerized route optimizer for their school bus fleets to optimize the distances traveled. Three tiers for school starting times are also used to reduce the sizes of fleets and buses on the roads. A no idling policy is also set to ensure buses are not running while unintended.
Rochester's public school transportation service recently upgraded their computer route generating software over to Transfinder software. Transfinder is a leader in school transportation management, district-wide communications, GPS integration, fleet maintenance, and outreach to parents and the community. This program enables the city to;
• Provide safe and reliable student transportation;
• Allocate and manage transportation assets to optimal performance;
• Adjust to day-to-day schedule, school, or route changes;
• Ensure a smooth transition to meet the challenges of regionalization and/or redistricting;
• Communicate and interact in real time with district-wide personnel, teachers, parents and the community; and
• Meet budgetary challenges without reducing the quality of services.
The bus drivers in the district also maintain and abide by a 5 minute wait for the idle policy to come into play. The buses are also equipped with GPS to ensure tracking and avoiding excessive driving. The transportation service is looking at finding ways to finance alternative fuel buses in years to come.
Sartell - St.Stephen Schools work with the local bus company to ensure routes are optimized. The city's Safe-Routes-To-School plan encourages walking/biking to school. One of the strategies which has been used in the plan is the organization of local walk and bike to school groups.