As of October 1, 2016, the SWUTC concluded its 28 years of operation and is no longer an active center of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. The archived SWUTC website remains available here.

167101-1 Report Abstract

Development of an Annunciation System for Rural School Bus Operations

Carroll J. Messer and Michael J. Pacelli, Texas A&M University, October 1998, 67 pp. (167101-1)

The economic strength of rural areas in America requires dependable transportation, often over sparsely settled lands in all types of weather conditions. This dependency on safe and reliable mobility is certainly true for rural school bus operations that small children use daily for riding to and from school. Receiving a quality education is a necessity for the economic growth and the long-term sustainability of rural communities, and the local school bus transportation system is an integral part of this education process.

During routine rural school bus operations, these school children and their concerned parents may frequently walk long distances to their bus stop and then wait with great uncertainty for their school bus to arrive. The consequences of missing the school bus require that a student arrive early at the stop, but this early arrival often results in considerable wait times, which are further exaggerated when buses are unexpectedly delayed. This waiting exposes these children to all kinds of inclement weather conditions, roadside safety hazards, and other personal safety and security threats.

This research reviewed a variety of existing technologies in order to determine how such technologies could be cost-effectively applied to address these important issues. A private sector system developed for this purpose and field-tested during the research study period was examined, and a new system design was developed using a combination of off-the-shelf, multi-function components. It is recommended that one or both of these systems be tested in Texas for accuracy, reliability, and cost-effectiveness before widespread implementation can be considered.

Keywords: School Bus, Annunciation System, Notification System, Vehicle Tracking