Board of Education votes to implement new technology on school … – Montgomery Advertiser

The Montgomery County Board of Education voted this month to adopt new technology for Montgomery school buses, which will automate optimized bus routes and track their estimated times of arrival. The system will also be able to send notifications to parents if a bus is delayed or in the case of an emergency.
It’s called Traversa, and more than 2,000 school districts already utilize it on a daily basis.
“We’re really excited about this one,” MPS executive director of operations Chad Anderson said. “We want to make sure that we protect our drivers and certain things and not provide too much information. We’re going to work through those items. It is quite a process to put this in, but we’re excited about working towards it.”
Anderson added that MPS considered implementing the Traversa system back in 2019, but the funding was not there for it at the time. After Melvin Brown became the district’s superintendent last year, he became an advocate for the system, according to Anderson, and now there is room in the budget for the upgrade. The board voted for it Sept. 12.
The three parts of the system are its optimized routing feature, a tablet in every bus and card readers. Drivers will use the tablets for turn-by-turn directions, daily bus inspections and to input maintenance requests. Meanwhile, students will swipe their student IDs through the card reader when they enter and exit the bus, and parents can receive notifications of when and where their students are picked up and dropped off.
“The schools that are waiting for buses in the afternoon, you know, sometimes they don’t know where they are and when the kids will be picked up,” board member Pamela Portis said. “This will help them with that.”
Should there be an accident, the system will automatically notify free, nearby buses and split students among them accordingly. In the case of weather emergencies, it can also direct drivers to the closest school for shelter and notify parents’ of their children’s locations.
“Currently, we’re kind of archaic,” Anderson said. “We’re sending things through a Google notification.”
With Traversa, notifications will be more specific, accurate and automated.
“That’s wonderful because, let’s say when the sirens go off for the tornadoes, they must stop and get to the closest school and unload. At least the parents will know where their children are,” board member Pamela Cloud said. “They’ll know that they’re doing the safest thing.”
MPS has not determined when the new system will be installed or how soon parents will be able to start receiving messages through it.
Anderson said the next step is deciding exactly which Traversa features the school district wants to enable. For example, he doesn’t want parents given full access to track school buses at any given time. Anderson said MPS leadership will work through how to utilize the software in the safest and most helpful manner possible.
Hadley Hitson covers children’s health, education and welfare for the Montgomery Advertiser. She can be reached at To support her work, subscribe to the Advertiser.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top