Synovia Solutions Blog


Posted by Christina Dieckmeyer on Wed, Mar 29, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

GPS-tracking-solution-pays-for-themselves.pngOne of the most common worries with fleet management software is the cost. What is it going to cost to install GPS on all your buses and vehicles? What will it cost to maintain? After all, there’s only so much budget to go around. 

The better question to ask, though, is can you really afford not to have a GPS tracking system? Ultimately most GPS tracking solutions end up paying for themselves. How? They track things like bus idling and speeding. This data allows you to increase fuel efficiencies and reduce cost. Additionally, you can monitor driver behavior and provide training and guidance where it’s most needed. In the end, this can lead to better drivers, fewer incidents, and decreased insurance costs.

Another cost saving option is to track driver time and attendance. Systems can be used to log in and log out and provide a web-based timecard system. This allows school systems to view planned versus actual reporting, and even to integrate with payroll to eliminate time-consuming and expensive manual entry.


Too often schools overspend on fuel as prices continue to rise. GPS can help by allowing for reduced fuel usage through less idling and better driver behavior. 

Let’s walk through an example of how you can save money on fuel with GPS. Say your district has 100 buses, and the average cost of fuel is $2.00/gallon. Using data from the GPS system, schools can save about ½ gallon of fuel per day per bus through idle reduction and improved driver behavior. If the school year is 180 days, this is approximately $180 in savings per bus per year, or a  fleet-wide savings of $18,000 annually. 



Route efficiency is important to school districts. Running inefficient routes leads to excess mileage and potential service issues. With a fleet management software solution, schools have route data integration functionality. They can compare planned versus actual route information and review all stops made. Essentially, they are better able to manage their routes and contain the cost of routing.

School districts with fleet management solutions installed can expect a mileage savings of about 1% per
day per bus, based on fuel and maintenance costs. When you consider your average maintenance cost per mile, the savings begin to really add up.


Inaccurate timekeeping and reporting can be expensive for school districts. With a time and attendance solution in place, drivers can clock in and out from their vehicles. This eliminates paying for non-driving time. On average, it saves 15 minutes per driver per vehicle per day.

payroll-savings-with-gps-tracking.pngDepending on your hourly rate and number of drivers, the savings can multiply quickly. For example, imagine your drivers earn $15/hour, and you have 100 drivers. Increasing your payroll accuracy by 15 minutes would equate to a savings of $375 per day, or an impressive $67,500 in annual savings.



A fleet management solution allows you to stay connected with your fleet and save money in the process. It is never easy to manage a complex budget. But tools such as GPS can help. The instant visibility allows you to better manage your buses and drivers.

With GPS, reports can be built to help increase efficiency and ultimately save money. Track variables like idling time and costs, speeding, and driver performance. Then use the data to significantly reduce your fuel consumption and overall cost.

Or consider allowing your drivers to log in directly from their vehicles. The system can connect directly to your payroll, reducing man-hours and eliminating mistakes, and thereby decreasing unnecessary labor expenses. In the end, whether from fuel, mileage, or payroll savings, GPS ends up paying for itself over time.

Want to learn more? Download our new magazine, Ridealong with Synovia Solutions, to read about the many benefits of GPS tracking. 

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Tags: k-12, school bus, fuel efficiency


Posted by Bill Westerman on Tue, Nov 24, 2015 @ 09:01 AM

SYN Winter Construction Demands 290x226It’s nearly wintertime in the United States, and across much of the country that means a seasonal shift in approach for construction companies. Cold weather sets in as the seasons change, and plummeting temperatures change the game for everyone who works outdoors. As you might expect – and U.S. Census Bureau data backs up this statement – business tends to drop for construction companies. However, with changes in the economy and construction technology in the past couple decades, there is no off-season.

Your business is expected to remain active even after the first snow. Here’s how you can accomplish that, maintain quality standards – and keep your crews safe. 


You’re always careful about making sure every part of every job is done right, but in cold winter weather the margins are slimmer. Any minor mistake can snowball into a major problem, and the normal ways of doing things may not cut it when the temperature dips below freezing. Because of that, it’s critical to get all the details right when you’re building in winter.

Cold weather causes many typical construction materials to act differently than they do when it’s warm out. Water in concrete will freeze, resulting in crystals forming in the mix and the dried concrete failing to reach its full strength. Masonry has the same issues, as water expands while freezing which can cause strength issues in a finished masonry project. Digging foundations is made more difficult by frost in the ground – once the frost level goes below 8-12 inches, special machinery may be needed to penetrate it. When snow or freezing rain covers building frames, it becomes impossible to apply sealants. These are just a few of the problems that winter construction can bring, and any one of them can deal a heavy blow to your efforts. 

Winter is especially taxing for vehicles and equipment, making maintenance more an issue than ever. First of all, you must prepare your own equipment for cold weather. Preventative maintenance and checks of heat and defrosting systems are a good start. It’s also important to continually monitor your equipment all season long – don’t just give each vehicle a once-over and assume it’s good to go. This is one place where Synovia can help. Our Silverlining™ suite includes real-time engine diagnostics that give fleet managers the ability to know when repairs are needed before a breakdown. Unexpected repairs are a thing of the past, and the maintenance that’s done is far cheaper.

Fuel economy also becomes a bigger issue than normal during winter. Cold weather affects efficiency in a number of ways – cold engine oil increases friction, icy roads decrease grip and waste energy, even heaters waste energy. Synovia engine diagnostics allow fleet managers to monitor efficiency and take necessary steps to save fuel. Location tracking also helps, by giving insight into whether drivers are operating vehicles efficiently and whether they’re driving optimal routes.

Additional equipment is required past your usual arsenal as well. Heavy-duty equipment may be needed to properly dig through the frost layer to lay a foundation. If inclement weather strikes at the wrong time, the frame needs to be covered for sealant application. Masonry and concrete must be kept warm throughout the whole process, and anything from heating the components to simply heating the whole work site could be called for. If wind chill is a factor, wind breaks may need to be built as well. 


Job site safety is top of mind for every project, but again, the unique conditions of winter mean extra effort must be exerted to make your team safe. Ice, snow, and cold all make the job site a bit more dangerous than it would be in the pleasant weather of spring or fall, or even the heat of summer.

Driving in winter is an issue, whether it’s a truck going from site to site or a piece of equipment moving around on an individual site. Ensuring drivers are properly trained and licensed to operate the vehicles they drive in winter weather is critical. Simply reminding workers of the dangers of icy roads and frozen job sites is important as well. 

Workers being struck by vehicles on site is a major concern, since it’s far easier to skid or lose control of a vehicle in the ice or snow. Because of this, traffic controls are just as important on a work site as they are on the road. Signs, cones, barrels, and barriers can all be used to protect drivers and pedestrian workers alike. It’s also advisable to have workers wear reflective vests when on a site with active vehicles and other equipment. Every little bit you can do to keep workers visible and protected from the equipment they work around will help

Getting stranded in a vehicle is not only more likely in icy and snowy conditions, but the cold makes it more dangerous than it would be in more pleasant weather. It’s important to train your drivers to know what to do in such situations. It’s instinct to want to seek out help, but that’s one of the worst things you can do. Drivers need to know how to stay warm, signal for help, and prevent maladies like frostbite and carbon monoxide poisoning. This way a stranded vehicle will be a temporary inconvenience, rather than something much more frightening. 

It’s also a good idea to track vehicles as closely as possible, so you know where vehicles are and can direct help to the right location without delay. A Synovia GPS tracking system gives fleet managers constant visibility into vehicle locations in real time, 24/7. Not only does this allow a manager to locate vehicles, but alerts and reports monitoring driver behavior can also help crack down on unsafe driving. This data is useful for route-building and other reporting year-round, but in winter when safety is at a premium it’s absolutely critical. 

Slick surfaces are dangerous for workers on foot as well as ones operating vehicles. Whether on the ground or on the framework of a building or on a scaffold, slips and falls are an issue in the cold. Again, training for your workers is important. Walking more carefully and wearing the proper footwear will protect against a lot of issues. Make it clear to your team that rushing will do more harm than good, and that safety is a priority over speed. It’s also important to clear snow and ice from walkways as much as possible.


No matter what, careful planning is important before any winter construction job starts. You can’t get caught off-guard by a blizzard, with no contingencies in place. Your needs will differ based on the unique project you’re working on, but the principle – preparation – is universal.

Your business can’t afford to take the winter off. You also can’t afford to sacrifice safety or quality. With this advice and a telematics partner like Synovia, your construction company will thrive in the cold.


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Tags: safety, fleet maintenance, route efficiency, construction, fleet managers, GPS, fuel efficiency

5% Guarantee: You save 5%. Or we pay 25%.

Posted by Bill Westerman on Thu, Aug 13, 2015 @ 09:24 AM

Managing a fleet of 75 or more vehicles can be a cumbersome and costly task. Synovia SolutSYN 5 Percent Guarantee 290x226ions can make your job more time and cost efficient, and we have the guarantee to prove it.

Here’s how our 5% Guarantee works:

To get started, customers are asked to record up to a 60-day baseline for fuel consumption and payroll inefficiencies.

Then, you’ll start using GPS tracking from Synovia Solutions. When you do, we fully expect you’ll see some meaningful improvements such as:

  • Reduced fuel consumption by limiting engine idle time
  • Improved driver behavior
  • Reduced excess mileage
  • Reduced vehicle wear and tear
  • Improved customer service
  • Increased number of calls in a day (depending on industry)
  • Reduced payroll inefficiencies
  • Smoother processes

In addition, our seasoned sales professionals have lots of savings tips and ideas.

If monthly audits from Synovia Solutions don’t show a 5% savings on fuel consumption or payroll over the first 12 months of use, you get 25% off your invoice for the balance of the term.

Get started with Synovia Solutions

To experience how Synovia Solution can make a difference in your business, we offer a free, no obligation trial. If you decide we’re exactly what your fleet needs, we’ll get you started with no upfront costs.

To learn more about Synovia Solutions, visit or call 1-877-796-6842.


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Tags: transportation directors, fleet maintenance, fleet managers, GPS, fuel efficiency

5 Ways to Boost Fleet Efficiency

Posted by Bill Westerman on Thu, Apr 09, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

fleet efficiencyA good business owner or fleet manager is always on the lookout for ways to save money while improving service to their customers or constituents. Increasing the efficiency of your vehicle fleet is a great way to achieve both simultaneously. Here are a few methods that can help you make it happen for your business:

Cut fuel costs

Fuel is expensive, and it’s one of the biggest concerns for any fleet manager. Finding ways to reduce fuel usage is a major priority, but with a whole fleet of vehicles and a team of drivers to manage, it’s not an easy task. Fuel card reporting is a solution that allows you to monitor expenses and usage of fuel across single vehicles and fleets. 

Two crucial weapons are data and communication. Knowing how often and for how long your vehicles are in use can help you to better manage your fleet and reduce fuel usage. You can use GPS data to communicate with drivers about wasteful driving habits while educating them on how to change for the better.

Reduce time and money spent on repair issues

A broken-down vehicle creates a long-list of problems for your fleet. Routes get diverted or missed, you can’t cover your whole territory and you might even be paying drivers to sit by while repairs are being made. At worst, a vehicle’s lifespan could be shortened dramatically. The best way to keep any of that from happening is to prevent major mechanical issues before they happen, while they’re still minor problems that can be addressed with minimal downtime and expense.

Knowing what’s going on inside your vehicles means that you can see what’s coming. Long periods of downtime are avoided. Your vehicles remain in the field, your drivers keep busy and your clients stay happy.

Increase driver safety

Reckless driving is deadly. It can also hurt your business even if your drivers never end up in an accident. If a motorist is cut off by someone driving a truck with your business’ name on it, that motorist goes from potential customer to outspoken critic.

Speeding and reckless driving can also cause unnecessary wear and tear on vehicles, and increase the time and money you have to spend on wear and tear items and vehicle replacement. It can even raise your fuel costs. Training your drivers to operate their vehicles safely and efficiently can save a lot of money. It can also save lives.

Monitor vehicle and equipment locations

As your fleet grows, it gets harder and harder to manage. Things fall through the cracks. Sometimes equipment can end up lost or stolen from a worksite. Having to replace equipment that’s disappeared without a trace gets expensive quickly. Making an effort to track your equipment closely, with detailed reporting, will help you save thousands on replacement spending. Asset tracking can help you always know where your equipment is - and easily locate it if it goes missing. 

Find the best routes

The shortest path to fleet efficiency is just that – finding the shortest and simplest routes for your drivers to use. Don’t just guess when drawing up routes – gather data to make informed decisions, and then make sure your drivers are following the proper routes.

Of course, all of these tactics are much easier when you have comprehensive data at your disposal – the kind of data Synovia GPS-powered tools provide. Vehicle monitoring allows you to track fuel consumption and maintenance needs as they arise. Location tracking means you’ll always know where your equipment is. Request a demo or begin your free trial today. You’ll love what Synovia Solutions GPS tracking technology can do for you.

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Tags: safety, route efficiency, equipment repairs, GPS, fuel efficiency

How GPS Can Help You Make the Most of Growth in the Construction Industry

Posted by Bill Westerman on Thu, Apr 02, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

GPS for construction crewThe economic downturn that began in 2008 affected practically every industry, but the related problems in the housing market were an especially big blow to the construction sector. But this is 2015. Things are improving, especially when it comes to the housing market. And that’s good news for construction companies.

According to USA Today, contractors added 290,000 jobs in 2014, a nine-year high. Construction spending rose 9%, 6%, and 5.7% respectively in each of the last three years. Being able to hire is always a positive thing. But how can you take full advantage of the opportunities that an industry upswing presents? GPS fleet tracking is one important way to make sure you get the most out today’s economic recovery.

Reduce unnecessary fuel consumption and large equipment repairs

Saving money is a really good way to make money – the less you’re wasting, the better. But with a large fleet of vehicles and equipment, many construction companies see costs start to spiral out of control.

The data you obtain via GPS tracking will help you monitor and optimize equipment usage, leading to significant cost savings. You’ll lower costs by managing vehicle misuse and excessive idling. You’ll know when drivers aren’t operating vehicles safely and whether they’re risking costly damage. And when maintenance is needed, engine diagnostics will tell you before a minor problem turns into a major issue.

Manage larger teams with ease

A growing client list means more jobs for your team, and more jobs in different locations make growing your fleet a necessity. The logistics of managing a fleet are difficult no matter what, but as your fleet grows, the list of issues you must face increases exponentially. Managing fuel costs, regular maintenance and the location of your vehicles and equipment all become a massive chore.

The solution is data – the kind of data you get from a GPS tracking system. You’ll always know where every vehicle and every piece of equipment is located, no matter how large and ungainly your fleet may seem. A built-in battery means Synovia Solutions GPS tracking can be used on all equipment – even if that equipment isn’t powered by an engine.

The ability to manage your team and your fleet with ease, especially as it grows, will put you in great position to make the most of today’s massive construction boom. Fortunately, Synovia Solutions can help you increase cost savings, worker safety and customer service – all at the same time.

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Tags: safety, fleet maintenance, construction, GPS, fuel efficiency

Why Your Public Safety Fleet Needs GPS Tracking

Posted by Bill Westerman on Wed, Feb 04, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

GPS tracking for public safety fleet

When managing a public safety fleet, you need a way to ensure your personnel are in position to respond to emergencies as quickly as possible. But as tightening budgets meet rising fuel and maintenance costs, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to serve those who need you most.

Fortunately, Synovia Solutions has everything you need to better manage your entire public safety fleet, from police squad cars and unmarked patrol units to fire trucks, EMS ambulances and beyond. Synovia Solutions GPS technology enables you to track driver behavior, so you can enforce safer driving habits while decreasing unnecessary fuel consumption.

With GPS tracking tools from Synovia Solutions, you can enhance service to the community and ensure your vehicles remain in the line of duty. How? With route verification tools that confirm whether an area is being patrolled and engine fault code alerts that enable minor repairs to be made before they become major problems.

With Synovia Solutions GPS tracking, your officers, firefighters, paramedics and other first responders will be able to reach those in need faster while your department will see a reduction in fuel and maintenance expenditures and marked improvement in overall cost savings, vehicle uptime, accountability and more. 

Want to find out more?

Simply download our guide, How GPS Systems Protect Police and the Communities They Serve. Inside, you’ll discover how GPS tracking can make police work safer and more cost efficient, from crime mapping and route planning to savings on fuel and maintenance expenses.

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Tags: safety, route efficiency, GPS, fuel efficiency

3 Reasons City Maintenance Managers Love Engine Diagnostics

Posted by Bill Westerman on Fri, Jul 25, 2014 @ 11:13 AM
remote engine diagnostics

Real-time vehicle information on the health of your city’s fleet – from police cars to bulldozers to ambulances – allows you to make informed decisions. This equips your team to perform preventative maintenance and often times dispatch mechanics before they are even requested. Without a remote diagnostics solution like Synovia, cities have to touch check every vehicle and preventable maintenance is overlooked or forgotten due to workload. This results in more downtime for your workers and costlier repairs to the vehicles. That’s why remote diagnostics technology can be a vital tool for a municipal maintenance manager.

Remote vehicle diagnostics pulls information every minute the vehicle is in use and gives you visibility into the vehicles’ performance. The vehicles are tracked by the vehicle identification numbers (VIN). Diagnostics such as odometer readings, fuel economy, and fault codes feed into our software. This data empowers a maintenance manager to act on real-time information and proactively manage the department.

1. Improve scheduling of preventative maintenance.

When you rely on a driver to report mileages, or maintenance staff members to check them, there will be inconsistencies in the data. Someone forgets to report the numbers, or writes down the wrong odometer reading. With direct data from remote diagnostics, human error is at its absolute minimum.

2. Accurately track your fleet’s health and driver behavior.

Fuel consumption and fault codes are useful indicators to review both the vehicle health and driver behavior. For example, unexpectedly high fuel usage can be an indication of a leak or perhaps reckless driving. You can also audit city-issued credit cards to ensure they aren’t being used for personal use. Without up-to-date and accurate information, a situation can go unnoticed for quite some time before it’s caught.

3. Provide damage control and be proactive to vehicle issues.

Every driver won’t react instantly to something like a temperature light. If a problem is severe, that delayed response can cause major damage to the vehicle. With remote diagnostics, the maintenance manager can receive a text or an email alert so that the team can act quickly to certain fault codes.

Knowledge is power, and a deeper insight into the status of a city’s vehicle fleet can preserve vehicles’ lives and save money. This allows you to provide better service and help your team do its job.

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Tags: transportation directors, fuel efficiency

5 Ways Fleet Tracking Software Saves You Time and Money

Posted by Bill Westerman on Tue, May 27, 2014 @ 08:00 AM

synovia board v3 05

GPS tracking solutions, such as the ones offered by Synovia, provide you with the gift of information. To maximize benefits, it is important to use fleet telematics as a complete fleet management solution and utilize the information provided to guide your day-to-day actions. Below are five ways Synovia Solutions can help you reduce time and money spent managing your fleet. 

1. Decreased Fuel Consumption- Fleet management solutions from Synovia can help save on fuel costs by empowering you to monitor and subsequently manage and influence driver behavior. You can ensure your drivers are adhering to their assigned route, not burning fuel unnecessarily by taking “the long way back.” Synovia’s software can also monitor how much time your vehicles spend idling, so you’ll know if fuel is being wasted while a vehicle is parked. And by tracking driver performance, including excessive speeding, harsh braking, abrupt turning and sudden acceleration, you can make certain that your drivers operate your vehicles safely and efficiently.

2. Improved Operational Efficiency- GPS applications generate more efficient route planning and scheduling, helping you achieve noticeable cost savings. You’ll be able to consolidate routes, allowing your fleet to operate with the appropriate number of vehicles. And while most schools and commercial operations have a route planning system in place, there is no way to tell what is actually taking place out on the road without a tracking solution. For example, If one of your drivers were to stray from their assigned route, you would never know unless you actually witnessed it happening. Synovia software eliminates this uncertainty.

3. Reduced Vehicle Mileage and Wear- Every minute on the road is costly. By managing excessive braking, hard turns, speeding and acceleration, those costs can be greatly reduced. With Synovia, you can tell if a 20 mile route is taking longer than planned so you can put a stop to side trips, courtesy stops and other inappropriate use of your asset. Synovia Solutions also lets you monitor engine diagnostics. If a fault code appears, our software can inform you of the problem in real-time, helping you avoid costly repairs. What’s more, Synovia telematics gives your dispatchers the ability to see which vehicles are closest to a specific location, so they can send the nearest driver in the event of an emergency. This can be especially valuable if you are looking to better response times or avoid additional wear on high mileage vehicles.

4. More Control Over Your Payroll System- If your drivers are paid hourly and you don’t have a foolproof way of tracking their time, your payroll costs are likely higher than they should be. With Time and Attendance from Synovia, you can rest easy knowing the hours your employees log is correct. A web-based solution, Time and Attendance allows drivers to clock in and out from their vehicles rather than a central location or a paper timesheet, so you no longer have to wonder if time logged is accurate. Time and Attendance can also help you manage the number of hours employees work each week. If an employee’s hours are close to the full-time threshold, assignments can be shifted, allowing your department to avoid benefit-related expenses associated with the Affordable Care Act. In addition, Time and Attendance helps manage overtime costs, saving your department even more. And since Time and Attendance ties in directly to your payroll system, reports can be sent directly to your payroll department, drastically reducing time spent on manual data entry or re-keying information.

5. Increased Time Savings- Think about it – how much time do you spend dealing with day-to-day issues, like parents or customers calling wondering where one of your vehicles is located? All of those calls rob you of your time, forcing you to stop what you’re doing and investigate. Without GPS, you will always be in the dark. With Synovia, the light switch goes one and you’ll always know the exact location of every vehicle in your fleet, so you can take care of any issues quickly and stay focused on your daily responsibilities.


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Tags: fleet maintenance, route efficiency, GPS, fuel efficiency

What parents need to know about school bus GPS

Posted by Bill Westerman on Thu, Aug 08, 2013 @ 09:50 AM

shutterstock 121509964Sending a child to school can be scary for parents. After all, they don’t know if little Johnny made it to school, let alone if he found the right bus to come home on.

Then consider the statistic from ABC News that approximately 17,000 children are treated in emergency rooms each year due to school bus related incidents. When parents think about it, they tend to get a bit more concerned (as they should).

Parents of children riding on school buses with GPS can breathe a bit easier. That’s because these fleets are equipped with components that make the bus safer - in addition to increasing convenience, accountability, and economic savings. Here’s what parents need to know about school bus GPS:


Safety is a big concern for most parents. School bus GPS can help put parents’ minds at ease. Readers can be installed in entryways so that the bus can keep track of exactly where Johnny is at all times. (They can also use existing school IDs or tablets.) Parents can log in to know if the bus is running late, minimizing the time children have to wait (which is less time to be exposed to bad weather or other dangers).

Dispatch can easily and safely communicate with drivers at all times, allowing drivers to be warned about potential dangers. Drivers can also ask for assistance in cases of bullying, mechanical breakdown, or other potential crises.

An emergency infrastructure is installed on the bus for added security. If there is a serious medical issue, the bus driver can press a button that sends out information immediately to the central database. If they don’t see the bus moving in a short time period, they can call 9-1-1 with the bus’ exact location for quick dispatch.


With school bus GPS, you can see in real-time if any student has boarded or exited the bus. Did Johnny get picked up this morning? Was he dropped off at his assigned stop? Which students are on Bus 32 right now? All of these questions can be answered with our Student Ridership solution. GPS allows school districts to know precisely which students were on the bus at the time of an accident or incident.


School districts with GPS have recorded data that can help protect them should anything go awry. In the event of an accident, school bus GPS documents every motion of the bus, from the flashing yellow lights to the Stop sign arm going out. Should anyone dispute this, the school has evidence to back up their case.

GPS also improves the regularity and timeliness of preventative maintenance with automatic tracking on vehicles. Schools can know in advance when bus servicing is due to minimize downtime and unwanted breakdowns, as well as allowing sufficient time to schedule substitute buses.

Economic savings

In addition to adding accountability and convenience, school bus GPS is saving tax payers’ money. School districts monitor bus driving patterns to make sure drivers are operating their vehicles efficiently, eliminating unnecessary idling (which limits gas waste), observing speed limits and not taking detours. It minimizes impact on the environment, trims pollutant emissions, and reduces the fleet’s carbon footprint.

Schools are able to review actual ridership by bus or route, so that they know if buses are being fully utilized. If not, they can plan new routes - or analyze planned routes versus actual loads. With documented data of the exact run times, schools can issue more accurate payroll checks which saves time and minimizes errors for both drivers and fleet managers. And because GPS is considered an anti-theft device by most insurance companies, schools can save on insurance premiums, too. More accurate mileage tracking also means better warranty recovery, which is another cost saving.

GPS doesn’t just make a school bus fleet more profitable; it increases safety, convenience, accountability, and economic savings...all of which are things parents want to hear so that they can rest easier about Johnny riding the bus.

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Tags: safety, GPS, fuel efficiency

Why school bus diesel exhaust is bad and what you can do about it

Posted by Bill Westerman on Tue, Jul 02, 2013 @ 11:58 AM

shutterstock 57618559Approximately 600,000 buses transport 24 million students to and from school each day. Most of those vehicles still run on diesel fuels. While all new buses must meet EPA’s tighter emission standards, many older school buses continue to emit harmful diesel exhaust.

“So what’s the big deal?”

The big deal is that diesel exhaust has a negative impact on human health in general, and especially on children because they have a faster breathing rate than adults and their lungs are not yet fully developed.

Diesel exhaust is comprised of very fine particles of carbon and a mixture of toxic gases. Federal agencies have classified exhaust as a probable human carcinogen. And the truth is, that toxic gas isn’t just existing outside the school bus; it often dirties the air inside school buses.

“Surely not that much exhaust gets in, right?”

Wrong. A study done by the Coalition for Clean Air and the University of California at Berkeley found that levels of diesel exhaust inside a school bus can be four times HIGHER than those in passenger cars driving ahead of the bus.

“It’s just a little dirty air. Can it really cause that many problems?”

Yes. Diesel exhaust has serious health effects that have been extensively documented. Numerous studies have shown that diesel fumes cause cancer. And since children often ride buses to school every day for many years, their exposure adds up. Exhaust also aggravates diseases like emphysema and bronchitis and can worsen (or trigger) asthma attacks.

And that's not all diesel exhaust does. It's equally terrible for the environment, contributing to the production of ground-level ozone (smog) and acid rain, air toxins, and black carbon. These emissions can damage plants, animals, crops, and water. Additionally, it affects air quality, weather patterns, sea level, and agriculture. Overall, it's really bad for everyone and everything around.

"So, what are we to do?"

The EPA recommends a wide range of emission reduction strategies for diesel vehicles, including: installing a diesel retrofit device with verified technologies, maintain/repair/rebuild/repower engines, replace older vehicles and equipment, improve operational strategies, and use cleaner fuels including natural gas and propane.

“So, what if we can't afford all that?”

New school buses are obviously a big-ticket item. But there is help available. Because these diesel fuels are so harmful, the Environmental Protection Agency is working to update fleets to cleaner fuels.

In fact, that’s the exact reason they launched the National Clean Diesel Campaign. These technologies include emissions and idle control devices, aerodynamic equipment, engine and vehicle replacements, and alternative fuel options.

In January 2011, President Obama signed legislation re-authorizing grants to eligible entities for projects that reduce emissions from existing diesel engines. The bill authorizes up to $100 million annually from 2012-2016.

School buses in your fleet may be eligible for these grants. To read more about eligibility and uses of funding, click here.

Updating school buses may be costly, but in the end it is worth it to protect our children and our environment.

How to Increase School Bus Safety

Tags: school bus, fuel efficiency