Elwood Community Schools, IN

Small District Finds Time and Cost-Savings with Routing Software

Small District Finds Time and Cost-Savings with Routing Software 

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Jill Cole has been the Transportation Coordinator for Elwood Community Schools since 2005.  The school district transports approximately 800 students daily to the Community’s three schools.  The district covers a 17 mile radius with most of their routes in town and three covering the outside edge of town and two for special needs transportation. 


When Jill Cole began working in the Transportation Office at Elwood Community Schools, the district was not using software to route their buses, although the district owned a software system.  Jill opened the program to see if she could create a way to store her student information along with her buses and maps.  Although Elwood is a small district that could manage manually, Jill saw value in using a system.  However, the system proved to be non-intuitive, and Jill, like the individual who had purchased the program, could not get it operational. She decided to do an Internet search and found Transfinder


Jill purchased Transfinder’s Routefinder Pro program in December of 2005 and, within a month, she had the software up and running.  She worked with a project manager from Transfinder to help her implement the software and import and geocode the students, and when she wasn’t working with her project manager, she was in the program using its tools. Like the Windows interface, Transfinder has a Help box in the tool bar. This allows users to type in exactly what they are trying to do and it will walk them through a step by step process to accomplish their task.  With the help of this tool and her project manager Jill was using Routefinder Pro to run her summer routes and by the fall she was well up and running for the start of the school year. 


Jill transports 800 students to school daily and has twice reconfigured her routes for efficiency and savings.  Transfinder has saved both time and money for the transportation department at Elwood Community Schools.  Recently, in anticipation of a budget cut, Jill looked to see where she could find savings and saw that her buses were not using all of their space. She reassigned students to fill her buses to capacity, and in so doing, reduced a bus from one of the routes, saving $25,000. 

When Jill reconfigures her routes, Routefinder Pro allows her to easily present them to the Board to show how this may impact the community.  Today, Jill is running a two- tier system, picking up students in grades K-5 to bring them to school and then returning to the roads to pick up students in grades 6-12. 

Routefinder Pro offers other time saving benefits. At the beginning of the year when Jill updates her student information system with new students, it automatically imports them to Routefinder Pro.  Then, Routefinder Pro geocodes the students so Jill can see where they are on the map and easily assign them to stops.  The visual effect of seeing an entire map with each student accurately placed on it is a powerful resource.  Jill can even create a lasso around as many as 80 students or more in an area, and with a click, add them to another route. 

Jill recently purchased the Infofinder le software program from Transfinder, which has improved the application process for field trips by teachers as well as the billing process after a field trip.  The miles traveled by a bus and the driver’s time is accurately recorded and automatically calculated by Infofinder le to bill the various departments. To aid in reporting at the end of the year, it helps Jill to keep an accurate record in Routefinder Pro of miles traveled by each bus over the course of the year.