The North Carolina Pupil Transportation Association (NCPTA) held the first statewide school bus routing competition at its Transposium on June 27. Participants competed to produce the most efficient routes using a set of training data representing a summer school scenario. Read full Article here..

Shown here are the top contestants with (from left) Sam Bull, Edulog COO; Edulog consultant Derek Graham; Kevin Hart, TIMS project leader for ITRE; and Andy Leibenguth, Edulog's NC account manager

TIMS Support by LEA

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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.

Current and past Service Indicator Reports are available here:
 

2024 TIMS Planning Webinar

TIMS planning Webinar from February 28th covering the variety of successful strategies used to properly plan for Summer School and Back to School Bus Routes for August.

ITRE-TIMS Webinar:

PPT (LINK)
Planning Checklist & Talking Points (LINK)
Webinar Recording (LINK) (Access Password: t9SYy%jK)

The Webinar Covers the Following Topics:

Fall Planning
• Managing Expected Ridership
• Reassessing Transportation for All Students
• PowerSchool Student Transportation Screen
• Preparing Preliminary Back to School Routes
• Bell Times & Arrival/Departure Windows
• Bus Route Analysis, Improvements and Driver Shortages
• TIMS Student Promotions & YET Data

Summer School Operations & Data Collection
• Summer School Locations and Irregular Student Assignments
• Custom Student Screens in PowerSchool for Summer Transportation
• Collecting True Summer School Ridership Information
• Preparing Preliminary Summer School Routes
• Finalizing Bus Routes and Preparing for Day 1 of Summer School


Future Planning Sessions are Listed Below:

 April 10th: LEA Planning Session #2 - Promotions, Rollover & Summer School
 May 8rd: Summer School Data Management & Bus Route Preparation
 July 10th: LEA Planning Session #3 - After YET and Day 1 Route Prep

TIMS Training Survey and Registration Links for All Classes Scheduled through July 2024 can be found
here (LINK)

Additional Webinar Recordings and PowerPoints will be posted as they become available.

 

TDTIMS- November 2023 Data Collection

TDTIMS is DUE by Monday November 9, 2023.

The TDTIMS Audit is a Comparison of Planned Bus Routes in TIMS to real world data from the TD2 and TD2R submitted to NCDPI by the Transportation Director. The purpose of TDTIMS is to ensure computerized bus routes are a close approximation of the routes being performed daily. If so, then TDTIMS data can be used in the annual funding allocation process for your LEA and will be included in the Annual Pupil Transportation Service Indicators Report (available online later this year).

If not submitted on time, DPI will contact LEA Finance Officers the week of November 13th regarding the late submission and the potential financial impact to the Transportation Budget.

New TDTIMS DIAGNOSTIC for Student Stop Distance
Last year, we introduced a NEW DIAGNOSTIC for Student Distance to Bus Stop. A deep dive into Historical TIMS Data uncovered some bus riders being assigned to stops that are many miles from their home and clearly incorrect. The issue is primarily related to the lack of an Alternate AM/PM Location for students riding the bus to/from a non-home address. Without the Alternate Destination Addresses properly managed, TIMS suggests some children are walking 10+ miles to their assigned bus stop. The New Stop Distance Diagnostic will identify students with extreme stop distances so TIMS Operators can research and correct these invalid assignments prior to submitting TDTIMS. A detailed breakdown of this new diagnostic can be found in the TDTIMS Materials Section below.

NEW PROCEDURE for 2023-2024 TDTIMS: Downloading the TDTIMS Workbook & Processor
Due to county-level restrictions accessing some LEA TIMS Servers, each LEA will need to download the TDTIMS Workbook and TDTIMS Processor for the 2023-2024 School Year. TIMS Support Staff emailed the Primary TIMS Coordinator a link to a Google Drive containing the files needed for Completing TDTIMS. If you did not receive the email or link, please contact TIMS Support Staff at NCSU-ITRE or UNC Charlotte (https://www.ncbussafety.org/tims/staff.html)

TDTIMS Webinar Overview from October 11th

PPT, Webinar Recording Link & Passcode: B5=u+d3f

 

TDTIMS Documents and Materials

Please Contact your TIMS Support Office at NCSU-ITRE or UNC Charlotte for questions, concerns or assistance with all things TDTIMS.

 

September 2023 TIMS Webinars

TIMS eSQL Tips & Tricks – September 6th, 2023

The TIMS-eSQL session covered many of the common and daily processes within eSQL such as working with Students, Stops, Runs and Routes, Report Options, General Route and Data Management, etc.

This link is to a copy of the TIMS Routing Concepts document typically distributed to New Users. Page 3 contains an outline of the eSQL Tips & Tricks discussed and demonstrated during the Webinar.

FALL Route Reviews – September 7th, 2023

This NEW COURSE was designed for Transportation Directors and Primary TIMS Staff to understand the variety of ways and different strategies to maintain updated school bus routes and passenger lists throughout the year. This webinar provided an overview of some best practices and methods throughout the state and discussed different methods based on local operations and procedures, available technology, etc. 

This link contains some general talking points about Fall Route Updates as well as a variety of options, methods, TIMS Reports and Spreadsheets that can help Transportation Departments

 

New TIMS Extract Method - February 2021

Due to North Carolina switching to the Core Contacts section in PowerSchool , the TIMS Extract must now be acquired from the Data Export Manager in PowerSchool instead of the traditional NCDPI Reports Section.

Below is the Announcement from PowerSchool Support from Friday, January 22, 2021. It contains instructions for Local PowerSchool Coordinators to complete.

Links for PowerSchool Coordinators:

Links for TIMS Operators:

 

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:

Left(allt(home_phone),3)+"-"+substr(allt(home_phone),4,3)+"-"+right(allt(home_phone),4)

For (999)999-9999 formatting use:

"("+Left(allt(home_phone),3)+")"+substr(allt(home_phone),4,3)+"-"+right(allt(home_phone),4)

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. Article continues here

** Important RR crossing Webinar conducted on 8/18/2016 - click here to access

download the webinar powerpoint presentation

Articles of Interest

NC Case Studies on Routing Efficiencies pdf document

Relevant Links & Documents

Technical Training and Support provided by:

ITRE at NCSU UNC-Charlotte Urban Institute