American city uses modelling to optimise school bus timings

With 11,000 children to transport to school and bus capacity being cut from 70 people to 11, the city of Arlington, Virginia has struggled to work out how to cope.

It’s using technology to find a solution, working Dynamic Ideas Routing, a company founded by Michigan Institute of Technology researchers who worked with Boston Public Schools to route buses with an algorithm that saved the school system $5 million. Its software determines how its roughly 200 buses navigate 154 daily routes. reports that the plan for the school year is “a moving target,” with all students starting the fall semester remotely, said Kristin Haldeman, the director of multimodal transportation planning for Arlington Public Schools. The district will then use A/B scheduling that means students would be coming to school buildings in shifts twice a week.

“The more efficient we can be with routing the better off we are given all the other challenges,” Haldeman said.

Arlington has a contract “not to exceed $75,000” for the new routing assistance. The company said the cost of the software varies based on the number of students in a district and number of scenarios they want to simulate.


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