Home Mobile Development How to Build a School Bus Tracking System?

How to Build a School Bus Tracking System?

by Mariya Parackal
track school bus

The school administrators and principals have the responsibility to build a secure and comfortable environment for students. For ensuring student safety, school administrators require a school bus tracking system that is transparent for both parents and school. 

In this modern era of taxi booking and instant food delivery apps, a smart school bus tracking system can assure that your students are safe, and both administrators and parents can get updates on the route, time schedules, and speed of buses.

It is easy to build a reliable and cost-effective real-time school bus tracking system

In this article, we will be discussing what are the things involved in making a school bus tracking system for your institution. 

Why do schools need a bus tracking system?

Parents are always concerned about the safety of their children, and hence school administrations are also trying to implement different ways to create a positive and safer environment for their students. By implementing a transparent tracking system, both parents and administrators can get updates on the school bus route and schedules.

  • Always Get Updated Through Notification 

Basic functionality in every school bus tracking system is that it has a feature to send notifications, which ensures that any changes in route or any unexpected situations will be informed to both parties.

  • Parents and students don’t need to wait for longer

With the ability to track the school bus, parents can ensure that children never miss their school bus. This also reduces the time they wait to receive their children. In the case of students, they will get a notification before the bus arrives. Real-time tracking helps students to find the current location of the bus.

  • Build a Transparent Security System

Transparency is always good when it comes to parents-school communication. By implementing a bus tracking system, the administration is ensuring that they are very serious about their transparency when it comes to student safety.

  • Keep Record of Bus Routes

Using a bus tracking system, we can keep records of all our bus routes, and this will help us maintain the safety measures around students, schools, and drivers.

school bus tracking system

How does the School Bus tracking system work?

There are mainly three software components in a bus tracking system.

Driver Login

The Driver app is installed in a smart device, and either it is given to the driver or attached to the school bus itself. Once the app is installed and setup, the device starts sending GPS signals to the tracking system. The app can also help the driver to guide through the approved bus route.

  • Driver logins with details provided by Administrator
  • Lists driver’s current routes and schedules
  • Guides driver through an assigned route
  • Dropping stations will be informed
  • The driver can send status to Administrator

Driver Modules

  1. Login: The driver can log in to the app using his ID number or user name.
  2. Navigation: Drivers can see the pick-up points and drop points of students which are updated by parents or admin. Thus enabling simple navigation for the driver.
  3. Messages: The driver can send messages to parents or admin in case of an emergency. 
  4. Notifications: Driver will receive notifications when parents change the pick-up or drop points of students, the parent will update when the child is on leave and when admin add any new student or any changes made in the regular process.
  5. Logout: Drivers have an option to select on-duty and off-duty.

Parent Login

Using this app, a parent can track school bus schedules and routes using a real-time map system. All you have to do is install and login to the parent app. Depends on the functionality, a school administrator can send notifications to parents regarding any route or schedule change.

  • Parent logins with details provided by Administrator
  • Shows current bus schedules
  • Read notifications from Administrator
  • Keep updated on changes bus schedules
  • Live route map of the bus

 Parent Modules

This module helps parents to be well informed about the school bus. The main objective of this module is to:  

  • Help the parent to query the current location of the school bus.  
  • Inform the administrator, if the child is absent on that particular day. This will help the administrator to skip the pickup/drop location.

The entire workflow of the Parent module is illustrated in the following steps:

  1. Login: Parents can log in to the app using a username and password. 
  2. Home Page: On the home page the parent can view the route details of the school bus. Real-time tracking helps the parents to find the current location of the school bus, where it has reached, and ETA. 
  3. Trip Details: In trip details, parents can see the details of the bus and driver. Bus number, registration number, name of the driver, driver id.
  4. My Profile: Parents have to update their name, contact number, address, and image which is only visible to the admin. 
  5. Child Details: Add the details of children, standard, address, location 
  6. Report an issue: Parents can send any issues to the admin. If the school bus is late, while the driver is not answering if there is any problem inside the bus or other matters. 
  7. Notifications: Parents will get a notification when the trip starts, when the bus reaches near to the pick-up point, when the school bus reaches school and starts from school. 
  8. Payment: Using the payment gateway, pay the school bus fees of children.

Admin dashboard (For School)

How would it that be if there is a way to send notifications to parents and drivers regarding any route or schedule changes? An admin dashboard act as an interface for the entire school bus tracking system where the Administrator can see live route status of the buses and also send notifications to parents and drivers in case of a change in normal schedules or route because of traffic congestion.

  • Create or Update driver and parent details
  • Register Buses
  • Assign source and destination of buses
  • See live route map of buses
  • Send notifications to both parent and drivers

Admin Modules

The Administrator is the one who manages the school bus. The main objective of this module is:  

  • Help the authority and parent to track the movement of their school bus and obtain the current location.  
  • Alert the parents through SMS to get to the pickup/drop location, when the bus reaches within predefined range of their house.  
  • Send an SMS to the parent when the child reaches the school.  
  • An emergency message can be sent whenever there is an emergency condition like tire puncture, engine problem etc.  
  • In case of an accident of the bus, an alert is sent to the authorities and parents, also the emergency hospital number instantly. 

The entire workflow of the Administrator module is illustrated in the following steps:

  1. Login: The school administrator or principal can log in to the web page with username and password.
  2. Dashboard: In the dashboard, admin can see the details of all school buses, driver and student details of each bus, active drivers, school bus routes. 
  3. Users: Admin can decide who all can handle the dashboard and can set the role of each staff.
  4. Messages: Admin is able to send messages to drivers and parents. 
  5. Bus Fare: Admin can check who all paid the school bus fees and can remind the parents about the fees. 
  6. Settings: Admin can manage the details of the school, drivers, students. Admin is able to add students and drivers, Admin can assign a bus to driver. 
  7. Reports: Total trips of each bus, starting time and end time of trips, driver attendance details, student attendance details.

Database Structure of the School Bus Tracking System

school bus tracking system

How to choose the right tech stack for Bus Tracking System?

As we discussed, both driver and parent software is a mobile app, there are majorly iOS and Android platforms. We have two options native and cross-platform,

  • Platform for Mobile Apps

We have two choices when developing a mobile application.

  • Native Platform for Mobile Apps

Java/Kotlin is an obvious choice for developing an android app and Objective-C/Swift for an iOS app. The advantage of native platform is that you can make use of device capabilities at its low level. 

  • Cross-platform for Mobile Apps

The advantage of developing a mobile app using any cross-platform technology is that you can maintain a single code base. But when choosing a cross-platform technology, we should also consider its developer community support hence the safest option is – React Native. The programming language in React Native is JavaScript, the advantage of choosing JavaScript is that you can share the same code base across both Server and Client.

Considering the advantages of the platform and common features of both driver and parent apps, we can choose – React Native. React Native has cross-platform support for API, UI, and Google Maps.

  • Server Side

There are two popular options LAMP and MEAN stack. A bus tracking application is a real-time location-based web application hence most obvious choice would be MEAN (MongoDB, Express, Angular, and NodeJS) Stack. 

  • MongoDB acts as a data store for user and real-time communication
  • Express framework is used for server-side programming
  • Angular framework can be used build web application UI
  • NodeJS runtime handles real-time API requests
  • Push Notification

The push notification feature is available on both web and mobile platforms. For android, we have GCM(Google Cloud Messaging) and APNS(Apple Push Notification Service) for iOS apps. Although we have many open-source push notification servers, to minimize the complexity of push notification infrastructure, we can use Firebase Push Notification Service which has Client and Server SDKs(Software Development Kit) 

  • Routing and Direction

Google’s distance matrix and direction API can act as a cross-platform solution for guiding both parents and drivers in an interactive way.

Further reading: 6 mobile app ideas for logistics and transportation companies

School Bus Tracking System- Conclusion

So, It is clear that using the above technologies we can easily architect a school bus tracking system. 

By implementing a bus tracking system, a school can produce the reliability of administration to parents in terms of student conveyance security. 

If you are a school administrator or a developer who has a plan to build a school bus tracking system for driver and parent, you will get a solution from here because we have a similar system that is customizable according to your requirements. Pitch your app idea with us. Our enterprise-level solution-Locologic can help you build a real-time vehicle tracking facility and driver module in no time. 

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