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Chicago public school buses get a green makeover.

This year, Chicago's school bus fleet is among the most sustainable in the nation. A $1 million federal program is retrofitting all of their buses with GPS systems and mobile data terminals (MDT), which will make routing significantly more efficient. New buses are mostly hybrids and the older buses will be revamped with cleaner-running technology. Everything is expected to be completed by this December.

The American School Bus Council estimates that only about 25% of school buses in the U.S. have GPS and MDT technologies, reports the Chicago Sun-Times (8/31/09). The district expects they'll conserve funds when the majority of their fleet becomes more fuel efficient and the routing more streamlined. In addition to these benefits, the district hopes to save money from better reporting on Medicare reimbursement for special-needs students.

MDT is an important addition for the special-needs population. Drivers can input information that tracks students as they enter or exit the bus, which reduces the potential for students being left behind or delivered to the wrong place. The MDTs are synced with the main bus terminal so the bus deputy manager can communicate with the drivers instantly. When a concerned parent calls to ask about his or her child, the deputy manager can tell the parent where and when the bus stopped and even when the stop arm came out.

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Title Annotation:Tools for Schools
Publication:Curriculum Review
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2009
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