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There are multiple factors school districts need to address in order to maintain the safest, most effective transportation operation.  Here are four key factors every leader should practice to ensure the best transportation for your district, your community, and most of all, your students.

-Maximize Safety:  To maximize safety, build a culture of safety, then find ways to measure it.

This includes engaging and educating the community about adopting behaviors around safety in order to avoid injuries and collisions. It also includes having an updated safety plan, comprehensively training drivers in emergency procedures and bullying prevention, obtaining and maintaining the best equipment, and measuring safety monthly and annually by gathering student and staff metrics.

-Overcome Driver Shortages:  To overcome driver shortages, adopt a three-step approach: recruiting, training, and retention.

To start, district leadership should collaborate with recruiting experts and the current driving team to adopt the three-step approach listed above.  Make sure to look at hiring trends. Knowing these cycles will help you plan and spend recruiting dollars more effectively. Hire a full-time human resources expert to lead your recruiting efforts.  Place plenty of signage at operations, on buses, and at hiring events. Engage in creative outreach on local news channels and through social media.  Once you have the best drivers in place, dedicate yourself to retaining them.

-Leverage Technology:  To leverage technology, implement tools such as bus-tracking apps, advanced routing systems, and predictive analytics.

Today’s bus technologies are improving student transportation and education in myriad ways, making it easier for you to do the same when you integrate them into your transportation plan.

-Measure Quality and Reliability:  To measure quality and reliability, create an action plan, then follow through on a regular basis.

Three important measures of reliability are on-time statistics, driver performance, and a well-maintained fleet.

When you incorporate these four key factors into your transportation plan, you can turn challenges into opportunities, making transportation to and from school work best for the students it serves.

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