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Sumner County Schools

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Sumner County SchoolsSoftware that Meets the Demands of a Dynamic Transportation Operation

Tyler’s VersaTrans RP Makes Routing Changing Student Populations Easy

For Bill Bentsen and Heather Jones, a rapidly growing student population is nothing new. As Student Data Management Technicians for Sumner County, Tennessee, they have seen an increase of between 500 and 1,000 additional students each year-largely due to Sumner County’s suburban appeal and short commute to Nashville. “Sumner County Schools’ Pupil Transportation faces enormous challenges,” notes Bentsen-challenges ranging from the addition of new schools, to frequent GIS map updates as new streets are added. It was clear Sumner County needed a solution that allowed them to react easily to the district’s rapid changes.

Sumner County school buses travel 12,000 miles each day while operating in a zero-mile walk radius to school. Almost 27,000 students are currently enrolled at 43 schools with three more schools coming online for the 2009-2010 school year-an increase of more than 3,800 students since 2000. New buses and routes are continually added to relieve the overloading that results from new housing construction. Frequent redistricting is required to accommodate new schools and population changes. As Bentsen and Jones began searching for a new school transportation software solution to meet Sumner County Schools’ needs, it became clear that VersaTrans RP was the answer.

After a smooth conversion, Sumner County Schools was up and running-and seeing positive results from the VersaTrans RP solution. “We’re quite pleased with VersaTrans and how it works for us in our environment,” says Jones of the switch to the new software system.

With VersaTrans RP, Sumner County continues to experience benefits through the system’s ability to create and record route changes, as well as rename and add new roads. Because the software stores information in the road segment, not the route, route creation and editing is simply point and click.

Bentsen further notes that the transportation industry is one where changes are frequent-particularly in a community where the population is growing at such a high rate. Even in this climate, Sumner County has seen significant benefits to using VersaTrans RP. Transportation employees can automatically assign and override bus stops, handle multi-bus transfers, assign alternate pick-up and drop-off points, and designate parts of routes as unserviceable-all with a few clicks of the mouse. And because employees are able to import updated GIS maps from the Sumner County Government weekly without losing previous changes or routes, countless hours have been saved that were previously spent adding and editing streets. This has enabled Bentsen and Jones to easily manage all the district’s boundary planning and bus routing themselves, without having to hire or contract additional staff.

VersaTrans RP’s comprehensive reporting functionality allows the transportation department to provide other school departments-and even the Central Office-with information they previously couldn’t access, such as reports on out-of-county and out-of-zone students. The entire school district has faster and easier access to important data through the power of the Internet. “In addition to using the built-in custom report writer, we use Crystal Reports and a utility that automatically runs 250 reports each night,” explains Bentsen. “Most of these reports are automatically placed on our Intranet and are immediately available for use by our schools and the transportation department.”

Sumner County Schools now has an efficient and effective way to provide their transportation employees with access to important student data-such as daily schedules and demographic information by loading this information directly into VersaTrans RP. “We import new and updated student information from the district’s StarStudent student database at least twice a week,” says Bentsen. This allows the schools to manage and schedule their student information comprehensively, throughout the entire school system. Once done, drivers are given detailed directions and a list of child names assigned to each stop along the way.

The more benefits Bentsen, Jones and the Department realize from Tyler’s VersaTrans Solution, the more they appreciate the advantages of having a comprehensive transportation software system, backed by a national company with experts in the industry. “We are truly impressed by the level of support and commitment we receive from [Tyler] and their willingness to work with us,” says Jones. Sumner County Schools has added VersaTrans TripTracker and VersaTrans FleetVision to their transportation system-ensuring a complete solution for all of their student transportation needs.

So, what makes Sumner County Schools confident in their decision? The answer is simple according to Bentsen. “In our eyes, VersaTrans RP is the perfect bus routing software.”


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