Ohio Shared Services Collaborative

Customer Spotlight Ohio Shared Services Collaborative

Ohio Shared Services Collaborative Anticipates Almost $6 Million in Projected Savings Over the Next Five Years Through Zonar Smart Fleet Technology

Many school districts throughout the country are combining resources to minimize transportation costs. This shared services model for transportation is one answer to rising expenses and reduced funding. One such example is the Ohio Shared Services Collaborative (OSSC), which was awarded a $1.76 million Straight A Fund grant in 2014 to reduce transportation costs.

The collaborative consists of 20 school districts, one board of developmental disabilities, four educational service centers and two information technology centers, all of which serve 35,000 students and covers 2,825 square miles of rural terrain.

Muskingum Valley Educational Service Center (MVESC) has led the collaborative toward results. According to Brad Hollingsworth, assistant director for Muskingum Valley’s Center for Innovation and Data Services, “Our problem was that transportation costs were rising, while enrollment was declining. We needed data analyzed to reach our goals of saving the 20 districts $4 million over five years, reducing the collaborative fleet by 5 percent, and reducing operating costs by 2 percent.”

He continues. “Our real focus in cutting costs in transportation was to use those funds in the classroom. To do that, we needed to analyze ridership during the school year to optimize the transportation department and drive those resources back into classroom learning.”

The collaborative is realizing savings with Zonar’s smart fleet solutions: Zonar GPS and Zonar Z Pass, coupled with Esri’s ArcGIS mapping and analytics platform. OSSC developed more than 1,000 lines of code to enable crossplatform analysis. By analyzing how many seats on the bus were filled and where students got on and off, as well as route data, OSSC saw opportunities to reduce transportation costs.

Data from a shared fleet feasibility study showed more than 100 buses in the 20 districts sat unused each day. When that data was compared with service records, it was found that many buses were unused even though they weren’t in for maintenance.

The collaborative could potentially eliminate spare buses and use strategic bus sharing to save an additional $62,700 to $77,270 in annual costs because districts could share excess inventory with each other. Eliminating the spare buses would also mean eliminating the costs of maintaining and insuring them, which is $3,300 to $4,607 on average per bus.

Zonar’s Z Pass captured 2.5 million data points, allowing for route analysis in 75% of the collaborative’s districts. To date, 19 routes have been eliminated. Designing more efficient routes could save $1,195,944 annually, with another $5,979,720 possible over five years.

Zonar’s technology also enables the collaborative to monitor idling times. By identifying which buses were idling unnecessarily and educating drivers about efficient driving behavior, idle times were reduced by 20 percent, which resulted in $50,831 annual savings.

“With the data that Zonar brings to us, we are also able to monitor and analyze how long the students are on the bus. We can keep parents happy, increase efficiency, and plan and design routes to keep the students’ ride time to a minimum,” says Hollingsworth. “We continually analyze data throughout the school year to improve routes.”

Not only are we well on our way to achieving our goals, the Z Pass+ is also an important feature for parents. We’ve had over 700 people sign up for the service. It was very satisfying to see that.
Amy Luby, Project Manager for MVESC

Here’s what one parent had to say: “Our family found the Z Pass card and Z Pass+ alerts to be so beneficial. Our child had different drop-off locations depending on our work schedules. It was so comforting to know exactly where he was and when he got there at the end of the school day! I found the sign-up process for Z Pass+ to be so easy. I’m thankful that our district participates in this program.”

Ohio Shared Services Collaborative is realizing approximately $5,979,720 in projected savings over the next five years through using Zonar smart fleet technology, including Zonar V3, Ground Traffic Control, Z Pass and Z Pass+ coupled with Esri’s ArcGIS.

By streamlining operations, it reduced its fleet by 5 percent and operating costs by 2 percent, potentially saving $1,195,944 annually.