As we start a new year, the one thing I think we all desire is peace. We just came off a holiday season where many of the songs are about peace. Peace is defined as “freedom from disturbance; a state of security; freedom from oppressive thoughts or emotions.”
Through much of 2020 I spoke about the Transfinder PEACE Plan and going into 2021, I’m sure I’m going to continue to promote how to bring peace to your school district and more specifically to your transportation department. In fact, next month at the New York Association for Pupil Transportation Winter Workshop, I am going to be discussing more details about how to get peace. The Transfinder PEACE Plan is more than just an acronym. I truly believe that bringing this methodical process into your transportation department will result in peace not just for you and your staff but your community overall.
The PEACE Plan is focused on the work school district transportation departments do every day to make sure students’ bus routes and bus stops are as safe as they can possibly be. That is what Transfinder is all about. For 32 years, we have been in the business of making the safest routes in the industry.
It all starts with mapping out your Plan. You may have heard the old expression “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” I believe that is true.
So, let us start this road to PEACE together:
Plan. Do you have a plan for each of your students, for each stop, each route? Are you using routing software such as Transfinder’s Routefinder PLUS to map out each route, select where to place the safest bus stops and prevent students from unnecessarily crossing the street? Transfinder’s calendar-based routing lets you plan a student’s schedule for every day of the school year. And are you using software to track inventory. Transfinder’s Servicefinder helps make sure whatever inspections are needed are conducted on schedule.
Execute the plan. A plan is only as good as the execution. Did you do what you said you would? Why or why not? We talk all the time about planned trips versus the actual trip taken by the drivers. Are drivers following the routes as planned and if not, why? Are you using software like Transfinder’s Viewfinder, Wayfinder or Stopfinder to make sure your plans are being followed? These solutions can be found at Transfinder.com/solutions.
Accountability. Does your software create reports of what you have done and how well you are following your plan? You probably have heard that if something does not get measured, it doesn’t get done. That is why Transfinder’s suite of tools help you track what you’re doing so you can either celebrate the success or make changes that better reflect real-world scenarios.
Communicate. It is critical to communicate with all your constituents what your plans are. Your team needs to know what the expectations are. And your community, your parents and families relying on you, need to know what your plans are for transporting their children. Do you have the tools such as Transfinder’s Stopfinder that allows your staff and parents to instantly communicate with each other over a secure app? Does your routing software, like Routefinder PLUS and Viewfinder, create reports that can be delivered to your inbox on any timeframe you decide? Are your reports customizable so you’re getting the information you want and need?
Examine. Your plan is a living, breathing document. It needs to be constantly reviewed and adjusted when conditions on the ground, so to speak, change. New housing developments go up, traffic patterns change, and a host of other unforeseen circumstances crop up. Your solutions will help you visualize these changes and, if you are using Routefinder PLUS, it can also make recommendations. Transfinder’s award-winning PLUS has imbedded in this solution Artificial Intelligence Optimization.
Perhaps in no area of school transportation do you need more PEACE than when transporting students with special needs. We spent a great deal of time creating Routefinder PLUS to create the safest routes and stops but it is also critical to prohibit students from crossing the street to get to those stops. Routefinder PLUS autogenerates bus routes using curbside pickup. Click here to watch a more in-depth discussion on these and other critical features.
Let’s plan on bringing some PEACE into your department in 2021 – together!
Tony Civitella is president and CEO of Transfinder. To learn more, please visit