Chicago Public School Buses Go Green and Techie

The money comes from a federal EPA grant

By Andrew Greiner
|  Monday, Aug 31, 2009  |  Updated 1:45 PM CDT
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Going to School Just Got Cooler

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Riding the bus never sounded so cool.

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This year, Chicago Public School kids will ride to school in style.

Aging buses in the city’s fleet of 1,600 have been retrofitted with clean-running technology thanks to a $1 million federal grant.

That’s the environmentally friendly part. But that’s not the cool part.

The CPS buses also received GPS technology with in-vehicle mobile data, according to the Sun-Times.

"The GPS system makes your routing significantly more efficient. With Chicago's implementing this on a large-scale basis, it should cut their mileage down considerably, right off the bat," said American School Bus Council spokesman Bob Riley.

Only 25 percent of the buses in the nation have this technology.

"It has a lot of benefits as far as safety for kids, in that the administration at the bus dispatch knows where the bus is at all times," Riley said. "And with the MDT, the biggest benefit would be with the special-needs population."

The mobile data will make it easier to calm worried parents.
"With the mobile data terminal, we'll be able to communicate with the buses instantly," said Francisco duPrey, CPS deputy general manager for transportation. 

"When a parent calls and asks us when a bus picked up a child, we'll be able to see where and when the bus stopped, when it opened and closed its doors, and when the stop arm came out. We'll be able to respond to parents' inquiries about pick-ups and drop-offs with a great deal of precision."

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