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What is routeAbus.com?
routeAbus, is the first of its kind web portal designed to provide geocoding and routing capability for school bus routing. The free version gives you all the tools you need to do routing anywhere in Norht America. The paid version provides tech support and more reports and tools.
What is included in routeAbus?
routeAbus includes, geocoding tools, a routing engine and access to the nation-wide road database. Users can perform all functions required to load school locations, stops and students. The system provides tools for creating bus stops, bus routes and assignment of student.
I am having trouble getting started. Can you help me?
YES! You can email us as firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help you get started with some suggestions on where to begin. Alternatively, we can do all the startup work for you. We will take your students, facilities, bus stops and existing routes and load them into the system for you. Once its done, you can just log in and begin to use the system. For further information, please see the Fastlane! service page.
Why is routeabus.com so much less expensive than desktop routing software. What is missing?
Over the past 10 years the entire computer industry is has been evolving to a new Internet based approach. This evolution is not unlike what happened 20 years ago when software running on mainframes, was moved to PCs and the costs were reduced by a factor of 100. A hundred thousand dollar piece of accounting software could be purchased on a PC for less than a thousand. It even had more features. The same thing is happening now. Software on the PC is moving to the Internet and a similar cost reduction is occurring. There are of course many factors that go into the cost of a product, but in our case, routeabus takes advantage of the availability of low cost online mapping and routing tools. We combine that with the fact that there are no implementation costs (e.g. we don't have to install any software or databases on your site), and that is how you end up with $50 per month cost instead of $50,000. Of course the existing desktop software vendors will go on and on about all the features they have, and why you should stay with them and pay their hefty fees. But then the mainframe guys used the same arguments 20 years ago. Anyone want to buy a mainframe?
Is there Mobile Support?
Yes. Besides being able to simply run the site from an Ipad or Android tablet, there is the ability for a Bus driver to access the mobile site for reporting Alerts such as a mechanical breakdown. The alert page allows the bus driver to report the location of the bus using the phone's built in GPS and provide details of the issue. The location and the details are then available in routeabus and can be used to direct another bus or maintance personel to the location of the disabled bus. Click here to see the Alert page - Please note the page is configured for a Phone. You can also use your phone's QR Code reader with the graphic on the right
Can I Post the Bus Stop locations on the Web?
Yes. One of the reports from the system allows you to create Bus Stops on Google maps. Routeabus will create web page with all schools listed. For each school, the Morning and Afternoon along with any special shifts will be listed. You can post that page or any portion of it on your school's web page. Selecting a link on the page will bring up the school location on Google Maps along with all of the bus stops for that school. Clicking any of the stops will display information about the pickup/dropoff times, bus number and the Street View (if available from Google). A list of bus stops by bus number is also provided. They page is automatically updated, if the bus stop information is changed. Click here to see an example of this page.
What is the difference between the paid version and the free version?
They are the same system. The following limitation apply to the free version.
- - The data in the free version is erased once a year on the aniversary of your account creation date. You can reupload and recreate your routes.
- - You are limited to 6 stops per bus route.
- - You do not recieve free technical support.
To see pricing for the paid version, or to upgrade, click here.
Is it Secure?
All information relating to each school is stored in a secure database on a remote server hosted at a secure site. Your user name and password are the only way to gain access to the system. Additionally, you can also opt not to store any sensetive infomation such as student names on our system. To perform the system's routing and assignment functions, only an address and a unique identifier is required. You do not need to upload student names, parents or any other identifying information other than their street adress.
Why route on the web?
Clearly, there are many bus routing software products for the desktop. So, why route on the web? There are 3 basic reasons:
1. Data - In order to implement a desktop routing application, GIS road data is required. Most school districts use road data created by their local county's GIS department. However, this data was created to support E-911 address matching and not routing. As a result, information about one way streets, left and right side of a divided highway or which ramp can be used to enter an Interstate is typically not captured by the County Agency. The school district must either manually update the data or correct the resulting routes.
routeAbus, uses data which was created for routing and is field verified (note the example above). It includes one way streets, left and right turn only intersections and other data points needed for routing. It is in fact the same data set used for Internet routing by portals such as Google Maps and Mapquest. It is also used by all major in-car navigation and vehicle tracking systems.
2. Software - With routeAbus, you do not need to purchase or install any costly routing software. All you need to route buses is an Internet connection and a web browser such as Safari, Firefox or Google Chrome. Plus, you can access the system from anywhere: your office, your home or any place with an Internet connection.
3. Support - One of the biggest impediments to the implementation of a multi-user bus routing system for most school districts is the need for an extensive IT support staff. To run a typical desktop system, you need SQL RDBMS Servers, Backup software, desktop applications and high speed network connections. Installing and supporting this infrastructure, requires up front expenditures and long term IT support staff. Additionally, most desktop routing applications require you to update the road database with new roads and updates from your local county.
routeAbus does not require any investment by the school district other than a computer to access the web. The road data is already included for North America. Additionally, you do not need to worry about backups, server upgrades and maintenance of the system. All support functions are included in your subscription fee. What are the advantages and disadvantages of school bus routing on the web? There are both advantages and disadvantages to using a web based routing system. It is up to the user to decide if the system is right for the application required.
- Less control over the base map data. The road data in routeAbus is provided by Tom Tom or Navteq. This is the same data used by web sites such as Google Maps and in-car-navigation systems. Navteq updates this data 4 times each year. Although Navteq provides online tools for data improvement suggestions, there is no direct way for users to add roads to the system.
- Requires an Internet Connection. Obviously being a web based system, routeAbus requires an Internet connection. Most desktop routing applications do not require an Internet connection.
- No more editing road data. All road data is updated quarterly without the need for any user intervention
- Better routing. The road data used by routeAbus.com is the same database used by millions of drivers everyday. The data contains information on one way, turn restrictions, speed limits and other traffic movement information needed to create correct routes.
- Cost. routeAbus is a subscription based system which can cost thousands less than your existing desktop system.
- Support. With routeAbus.com, you do not need any in house computer support staff to set up and maintain servers, networks and computers needed to run desktop routing systems.
- Maintenance. With routeAbus.com, all software and data is automatically updated for you. Additionally, your data is stored on redundant RAID 5 level systems which are backed up daily. We also provide free technical support as a part of your subscription service.
- Use it anywhere and anytime. All your software and data is online. Use routeAbus anywhere and on any computer that has access to the Internet.
How is routeAbus different than what other bus routing vendors offer as ASP?
This gets a bit technical. For several years, vendors such as Citrix, Glance and others have been providing tools which allow applications to be served to users over the web. These tools allow existing desktop applications to be shared with a remote web user through a screen sharing process. (i.e. the application runs on a server, but the screen appears on the users desktop inside a web browser). Existing ASP bus routing applications from other vendors use this approach to allow users web access to their existing desktop routing application.
As you can see, this is not a true web based application. The problem is that the intensive screen interaction required for a bus routing application results in poor performance which degrades exponentially as more users are added. Routeabus.com is different. routeAbus.com was designed as a 3 Tier web application based on html, AJAX and XML. routeAbus, is not a desktop application turned into a web application, it was designed from the ground up as a web product, not because we liked the extra work, but because you need a web application if you are going to run over the web. After all, if 3 legs were all that was necessary to make a table, then all tables would have 3 legs.
Where is my data stored?
All student, bus stop and route information created on routeAbus.com are stored in an SQL database running on our servers. You can choose to download copies of the database and store them locally as well.
Can I cancel, if I am not happy?
Yes! The free version is free, so cancel anytime you are not happy. The paid version is a subscription service. If you are not happy for whatever reason, you can cancel your subscription.
How are the fees structured?
Fees are based on the number of students geocoded and the number of buses to be routed. You can subscribe monthly or annually. Of course you can opt for the free version as well.
Do you have a Data Usage Policy?
Citygate GIS, routeabus.com, its affiliated companies and employees do not access any data uploaded to our system, including student data, unless directed by the customer who uploaded the data, and then only for the purpose of providing technical support. Citygate GIS, routeabus.com, its affiliated companies and employees do not share, sell or otherwise distribute customer data and customer uploaded data (including student information) with any third party. Access to the system is provided only with a valid combination of Username and Password. Users can choose to close their account at anytime, and delete all content from their account. The information will be immediately deleted and permanently removed from the routeabus.com online databases. Routeabus.com databases are backed up on a regular basis as a part of the system’s disaster recovery protocols. These backups are recycled every 7 days and are overwritten. If an account is deleted, the content may exist as a part of an overall system backup for up to 7 days, after which it is overwritten. Backups of the system can only be used for disaster recovery and are accessible only by the routeabus.com system administrator.
Got more questions?
Contact RouteABus Support. We're here to help.