Goshen boosts school bus safety technology

GOSHEN — Security upgrades for the majority of school buses at Goshen Community Schools is being put in motion.

Goshen school board members on Monday were informed of the corporation’s $145,000 plan to upgrade outdated security camera systems currently used on the bus fleet.

Kelley Kitchen, director of finance at GCS, said the camera systems on the bus fleet currently require video download and are not high definition making it difficult to see and hear activity inside and outside of the buses.

“If you recall in the 2018 budget, you appropriated some money for upgrading the technology, the cameras of the buses,” Kitchen told the board members.

She said the current camera systems on the corporation’s bus fleet are very outdated and don’t record well.

“They’re not the latest technology,” she said. “So, we’ve looked at a system that will give us a high-definition capacity.

In total, 35 of the 50 bus fleet is scheduled for the upgrades. That number includes all buses that aren’t scheduled to be replaced in less than four years.

“If they’re going to be replaced within the next four years, according to our bus replacement plan, then we would wait to install those as we spec the new buses.”

The upgrades for the buses currently scheduled include the following upgrades:

• Four interior cameras with HD wireless file transfer kit and GPS antenna;

• HD night vision dome camera that allows low light film and audio

• DVR that would allow event marking

• Memory card

•  Additional HD waterproof night vision side camera for bus stop arm mounting.

The best quote, including installation, was received from Pro-Vision for a total cost of $100,150, Kitchen said.

Wi-Fi access would be installed on all 35 buses with an estimated cost of $35,000. In addition, an access point will be added at the bus lot for an estimated cost of $10,000. The upgrades are slated to take place over Christmas break. 

To further enhance safety, Kitchen said the Transportation Department has provided iPads to bus drivers along with the establishment of a Transportation Review Committee which will regularly meet to review routes, safety protocols, pickup and drop off areas and accidents.

The corporation has also added Safe Stop to further enhance parent communication and safety.

“This program has been to communicate with our patrons about real-time bus information,” Kitchen said. “SafeStop will show parents and school administrators where the school bus is along its route, and expected arrival times are also displayed for each bus stop.”

Transportation staff will also be able to send real-time service notifications to parents through the Alerts & Messaging Center. This will allow GCS to communicate with parents more efficiently when there is a change in routes/drivers, Kitchen explained.

“We are currently working with SafeStop to coordinate with Zonar, our GPS system, and Transfinder, our routing software,” she said. “Roll out for this app should take place before Christmas Break.”

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