Ohio Shared Services Collaborative

Customer Spotlight

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

Many districts throughout the country are combining resources to minimize transportation costs. This shared services model for transportation is one answer to rising costs and reduced funding. One such example is in eastern Ohio, where in 2014, the Ohio Shared Services Collaborative (OSSC) was awarded a $1.76m Straight A Fund grant 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 which serves 35,000 students and covers 2,825 square miles of rural terrain. Muskingum Valley Educational Services Center (MVESC) has led the consortium toward results.

"Our problem," said Brad Hollingsworth, Assistant Director for Muskingum Valley ESC, Center for Innovation and Data Services, "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 consortium fleet by 5 percent, and reducing operating costs by 2 percent."

"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 consortium is realizing savings with Zonar’s smart fleet solutions: Zonar GPS and Zonar RFID coupled with Esri's ArcGIS. More than 1,000 lines of code were developed by OSSC to allow for cross-platform analysis. By analyzing how many seats were filled, where students actually got on and off the bus, and route data, OSSC realized opportunities to reduce transportation costs.

Data from a shared fleet feasibility study showed that there were over 100 buses in the 20 districts that 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 consortium has the potential to eliminate spare buses and utilize strategic bus sharing, saving an additional $62,700 to $77,270 in annual costs as districts are able to share excess inventory with each other. Also, the costs of maintaining and insuring spare buses contributes to expenses, with the average annual cost per bus ranging from $3,300 to $4,067 in Ohio.

Zonar's Radio Frequency Identification Cards (RFID), with Zonar Z Pass captured 2.5 million data points allowing for route analysis in 75% of the consortium's districts, which has led to 19 routes being eliminated to date. Designing more efficient routes potentially saves $1,195,944 annually, with the potential five-year forecast savings being approximately $5,979,720.

Another benefit of Zonar's technology was using the GPS to monitor idling times. By identifying which buses were idling unnecessarily, and educating drivers, idle times were reduced by 20%, which resulted in a $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 student’s 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 is what one of the parents 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


20 School Districts
450 Buses
35,000 Students


Pupil Transportation






Zonar's Fleet Management System

  • Zonar V3™
  • Zonar Z Pass™
  • Zonar Z Pass+™
  • Ground Traffic Control®
  • Esri ArcGIS
  • Streamlined tracking and account management
  • Strategic bus sharing; up to $77,270 annual savings
  • 20% reduction in bus idling; $50,831 annual savings
  • 19 bus routes eliminated; $1,195,944 annual savings
  • Student tracking and peace of mind for parents