The technology at your fingertips can either propel your team’s productivity or it can grind your office to a halt. Debbie Swenson, the transportation systems and technical analyst at Arlington ISD in Texas, recently shared her experience trying to route with inefficient tools and the frustrations that ultimately led the district to seek a better solution.
A few years ago, the district was using several different tools to address their routing needs. They were using a basic routing and planning program for the majority of their routes, but, as Debbie explained, “We were experiencing glitches and getting very frustrated with our software company. We even had a running spreadsheet of all of the problems and if/when they were resolved.”
These issues were exacerbated by any atypical routing situations, such as field trips and McKinney Vento routes. “We used to rely on Google Maps and Mapquest to route our McKinney Vento students,” she said. “We also relied on Excel sheets to track many of our student riders.” These tools were time-consuming, unreliable, and required more manual work than the district was able to take on.
Realizing it was the right time to start seeking a better alternative, district officials began their research. After it became clear that Tyler’s Versatrans suite would give them the freedom and flexibility they needed, the transportation team and the Tyler implementation team got to work installing Versatrans Routing & Planning, Triptracker, e-Link, and Onscreen.
“Triptracker has resolved the majority of our trip problems and has allowed us to run reports that we weren’t able to run in the past. We were also able to provide Tyler’s online training videos for our coaches and secretaries that explained how to enter their field trips,” Debbie said. “Now we have access to a five-county map which allows us to route in Versatrans, thus reducing our routing and processing times, so Versatrans has definitely made our McKinney Vento routing easier. We will also be eliminating the majority of our Excel spreadsheets now because Versatrans has the ability to track students for us.”
The right technology makes all the difference, as Debbie knows first-hand: “Our routing is easier and more accurate, and our data is streamlined.”