Report: Student Safety, Security Concerns Driving Bus Telematic Industry

Increasing concerns over the safety and security of students, rising fuel prices, increasing overhead expenditures, and other operational issues have made the incorporation of school bus telematics systems indispensable. In fact, the telematics market is primed for growth between 2008 and 2014.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan , North American School Bus Telematics Market, finds that the market earned revenues of over $25.9 million in 2007 and estimates this to reach $109.8 million in 2014.

Currently, telematics technologies under development aim to facilitate student/driver monitoring and tracking, vehicle inspections, guideline compliance, geofencing, back-office automation, vehicle performance monitoring, maintenance scheduling, remote diagnostics, prognostics, communications, mobile resource management, and integration through web- and telecommunication-based applications.

“The North American school bus telematics market aims to increase market penetration by developing innovative and cost-effective telematics solutions that meet the unique safety, security and mobile resource management needs of the school districts and fleets,” said Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Neelu Singh. “Increasing awareness and better understanding of the productivity and security benefits offered by school bus telematics are expected to stimulate the market's growth.”

Furthermore, several technologies built upon biometrics, RFID, video surveillance, and other enabling technologies, such as wireless LAN, that support real-time high-bandwidth data transfer mechanisms necessary for student and driver monitoring/tracking are being developed. The commercialization of these technologies and services will enhance the applicability of school bus telematics as well as bring in the next wave of adoption.

“Market participants are focusing on offering cost-effective knowledge management solutions that are scalable and designed for the unique operating conditions of the pupil transportation industry,” Singh said. “These trends indicate that the North American market for school bus telematics systems is now on the verge of rapid growth.”

However, market adoption is prohibited by school districts’ budgetary restrictions coupled with the up-front and lifecycle costs of integrating a school bus fleet. Since school buses normally operate within fixed zones, more affordable substitute technologies, such as cellular phones, are used to maintain contact with drivers.

“The current situation demands concerted efforts by all industry stakeholders to develop standardized technology platforms that can generate innovative and cost-effective telematics solutions,” Singh said. “Market participants should develop scalable hardware systems and solutions that leverage multi-modal communication network technologies for low-cost high-bandwidth data transfer -- a key requirement in the school bus telematics market.”

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