In October 2019 during one of their meetings the Rocky View School Board of Trustees made a motion to invest $50,000 of reserve funds for a transportation route efficiency review to see if there were ways to make bus transportation in the division more cost-effective and efficient. 

After a request for a proposal was issued, two viable contractors responded, and following an evaluation of the responses Edulog was awarded the contract to conduct the study.  It was done in three stages:

  • Efficiency Assessment 
  • Data Assessment 
  • Route Optimization Review 

The first two stages of the review were brought back to the board planning committee in May after Stage One, the Efficiency Assessment was completed in April, and Stage Two, the Data Assessment was done in May.   Stage Three of the report, the Route Optimization Review has just been completed and was presented to the board at a recent meeting.

Overall, Edulog found that RVS makes efficient use of their bus routes when all the constraints are taken into account.  "You decide that the maximum ride length is going to be "x," that you don't want schools to start before a certain time or end before a certain time," explains RVS Superintendent Greg Luterbach.  "So when they looked at all those factors, as well as the fact that we provide transportation to the Calgary Catholic Schools that are in our RVS communities.  When they put all that in a blender they looked at that and said we're doing a good job."

Luterbach admits that the review did find areas where RVS could save money but that would mean a change to bell-times or extend the time a student spent on a bus which were things the board was not willing to consider for the sake of students.

Since mid-March, no school buses have been on the road after students moved to an at-home learning environment due to COVID-19.  Fortunately the reviewers didn't have to do ride-alongs as part of their review process.  They simply utilized software that RVS already had in place.

"They take the data from our routing and mapping system and they look at the system, they look at where the stops are at and they compare it.  They basically run some simulations on the software and say, 'okay, what if we made the ride length from 75 (minutes) the most we currently have, to 90 minutes.  You could save "x" amount of routes."

The Route Optimization report will now be reviewed by the RVS transportation department and, where possible, the recommendations made in it will be integrated into route planning for the 2020-2021 school year.  The transportation department will be considering alternate scenarios for September start up because of potential load restrictions that could be implemented by the government.

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