School Bus Routing with TIMS...
. . . The Transportation Information Management System (TIMS) is a unique collaboration between the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) and the Institute for Transportation Research and Education (ITRE) at North Carolina State University. It is an ongoing statewide project that concentrates on maintaining and improving upon efficiency in school bus transportation at the district level. Each district operates standardized, comprehensive computer-assisted school bus routing and scheduling software. By maintaining student, transportation and street network data at the local level, district personnel have access to the most accurate and current data available. TIMS Support Staff at NCSU and UNC Charlotte provide daily software and technical support to individual TIMS data managers across the state. Continued here...
The Service Indicator Report
Optimization tools in TIMS are used to improve the efficiency of transportation services. In addition to the benefit derived from the optimization tools, uniform reporting from TIMS makes possible the production of LEA‐level and statewide data. In this document, data from all LEAs have been collected and summarized. The goal is to give school transportation providers and local policy makers a tool that will help them assess the quality of the services they provide.
The information submitted in the Annual TDTIMS Report includes data that are used in the transportation funding formula. Specifically students transported must be assigned to stops, runs and routes in order to calculate site characteristics such as the average distance to school for transported students.
If computerized TIMS Routes do not accurately reflect current bus routing operations, then your transportation budget ratings will be incorrect. If TIMS data is incomplete or not updated, state funding could be negatively impacted.
Please review the pdf Presentation here.
What is TDTIMS? & Why Do We Do It? - a presentation by Kevin Hart
Your TDTIMS Information is also used to compare your district to the rest of the state. The Annual Service Indicators Report highlights:
- Average Student Ride Time
- Average of the Longest 5% of Student Ride Times
- Average Distance to School for Students
- Student to Stop Distance
- Earliest AM Pickup and Latest PM Drop-off
- Range of School Start Times
- Average Number of Runs per Route
It is the most comprehensive report of public school transportation services in the nation
TIMS Reporting TIP!
Have you ever wanted to display the phone number in your reports with dashes separating the numbers? If so, try inserting one of the following codes in the phone number field of your report.
For 999-999-9999 formatting use:
For (999)999-9999 formatting use:
TIMS Boundary Shape File Request by NCES
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has sent requests to many school districts across North Carolina requesting school boundary information in the form of shapefiles or will allow the district to draw their own school boundaries using their special tools. Providing shapefiles of your school boundary lines will allow NCES to provide a publically accessible mapping system to provide information on the district, state and national levels to inform policy decisions regarding funding and other disaster relief programs.
If your district chooses to participate in this program, there are several items to consider. If your district has a GIS referenced map, the boundary files may be converted into shapefiles, which is the preferred format NCES would like to receive your maps.
TIMS project leaders have the capability of converting your boundary files into shapefiles, but in order to do so, we will require the school boundary descriptions be in a format that can be easily identified and tracked for future updates.
Click here for information about the NCES request and boundary preparation
Click here for a powerpoint describing the process for uploading your boundary shape files
Safeguarding school buses: Rail crossings critical
Modern school buses are some of the safest vehicles on the road, but even these sturdy conveyances can be at risk in a collision with a train. Coordination between two N.C. state agencies helps give more information to school bus drivers across the state to help prevent this kind of accident.
Nearly 13,000 public school buses operate in N.C. counties that have railroad tracks, and more than 50 percent of these buses cross a railroad track at least once a day. For buses that cross railroads, the average number of crossings is nearly six a day. In dense urban districts with lots of tracks, the average number of daily crossings for buses can exceed a dozen. Adding all those crossings statewide totals nearly 45,000 times each school day, and those buses carry more than 600,000 students, with an average of 14 students on each bus at the time of crossing. Continued here
Articles of Interest
- Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools survive DNC without major bus woes
- School Busing: Budget Cuts Change Services - Kevin Hart
- Charlotte fire prompts additional school bus inspections - Kevin Hart
NC Case Studies on Routing Efficiencies
- Currituck: Reduced 3 buses; longest rides reduced by nearly an hour
- Charlotte-Mecklenburg: Parked 100 buses, Consolidated 11,000 stops
- Pender: Reduced 3 buses; data-based decision making
- Henderson: Reduction of 1 bus and 1200 miles for ONE elementary school
- Cabarrus: Reduction of 53 buses AND average ride times
- Watauga: Savings of an estimated 84,042 miles and 828 hours of driving time
Relevant Links & Documents
- TIMS Best Practices
- TIMS SQL is coming to a Server near you soon - latest details
- Transportation Efficiency
- TIMS Typmposium Presentations
- Using TIMS to examine Stops, Runs and Routes to increase Fuel Efficiency
- Using TIMS' Simulation & Optimization Modules to Develop Efficient Transportation Plans
- NCDPI Transportation Bulletin on Fuel, Policy and TIMS
Technical Training and Support provided by: