What is Schools Transport Automatic Register (STAR)?
Schools Transport Automatic Register (STAR) is a transport communication system to enhance the safety, increase the productivity and drive out costs for school bus and Special Education Needs (SEN) operations - whether contracted out or not. STAR is not just a tracking or routing system. It combines the technologies of GPS vehicle tracking with personal RFID smartcards as the basis for an innovative way of delivering home to school transport services to parents, schools, bus companies and local authorities.
Each child will receive a personal smartcard which could include their details including a photo which where necessary. The smart is recognisable by the driver and is validated by the STAR system and referenced on the server. The smartcard is the basis for student registration on the STAR console when passengers board or alight the vehicle. STAR enables tracking of the vehicle location and produces automatic and real-time passenger manifest. The console also allows incident reporting about students with two-way communication between drivers and the base.
STAR is primarily delivered as a web-based service, whilst for larger operators it could be customised and delivered on clients’ own server as a private service. The system is easily configurable and can be extended to include other value-added services such as on-line payment services. The delivery and pricing model is flexible, minimising up-front costs, enabling clients to choose payment options; capital and revenue.
As well as targeting safeguarding, compliance monitoring, and communications, STAR system can deliver significant cost savings for schools, local authorities and bus Operators. Efficient fleet management, reduced administrative and compliance monitoring costs, as well as a reduction in misuse and service abuse contribute to an independently verified pay-back period of less than a year.
STAR Solutions for different service types
STAR Team has considered and accommodated various school transport operations.
A feature rich solution designed for the “closed list” or pre-booked operations where the service user group is largely determined in advance. This solution offers smart card or manual student registration, route and stop membership lists, and a host of complimentary features to assist drivers in managing the service.
A truly flexible alternative in-vehicle-program that allows “open list” service operations. This is a service type where majority of students use the service without pre-registration on a part time or full-time basis; first-come-first-served (similar to public bus service). This simplifies drivers task in validating user permits and enables easy production and management of service-user lists and service payments on the schools’ access portal.
STAR Track is an option/ solution where the only requirement is sharing the vehicle location (school bus tracking) with parents. STAR Track considers the new privacy regulation (GDPR) and restricts vehicle location information access to parents whose child is registered to use the service where they can only monitor their own children’s service movements.
STAR relies on a decade of continuous development. From designing dedicated hardware through to use of Microsoft Windows CE tablets to the latest utilisation of Android tablets. STAR technical team has continued innovation and developed the STAR benefiting from the latest technology. Currently, STAR is delivered using a 5 inch industrial grade Android tablet. This device is selected with consideration of school transport operations. The in-vehicle tablet can be easily removed and installed on different vehicles, using suction pad which is attached to the windscreen and powered from a standard power sockets. This allows flexibility and operational convenience. The card validator interfaced to the tablet allows speedy student registration to reduce boarding time. Audio visual driver signals, two-way voice and text messaging functionality along with live passenger statistics, improves drivers’ awareness and control of the service.
STAR Web Portal
What others say?
Local authorities would welcome the opportunity to learn about new solutions and emerging experience from other authorities. GEP Tec's proposition (STAR) is unique and very interesting with potential to be extended to other applications in school and transport sectors.Mr. Kevin Farquharson - Chairman of SCNF
STAR will make a huge difference to improving school transport. STAR is a striking example of what can be achieved by adopting the latest innovative technologies. STAR will encourage collaboration amongst stakeholders to improve fundamental community service; thus ensuring safety, reliability, and efficiency of schools transport which is paramount to Bedfordshire. We will be talking to other schools about STAR in the near future.Mr. Chris Pettifer - Head of Integrated Passenger Transport - Bedfordshire Council
STAR is a unique product and provides a practical and cost effective solution to the delivery of School and other transport providers not only in the UK but Internationally as well.Dr. Soraya Jones - Managing Director of Cambridge Wireless Group
A small electronic device (an electronic data terminal) is installed on each school bus and every child is allocated and carries an electronic bus pass. As they enter the school bus the data terminal records the child is on board and this data is then available to any parent using their home computer or mobile phone via the internet. It allows the driver to control security by knowing who is on board and when the bus is full and able to leave. It also allows the company to know where the bus is and read any other data such as the numbers on board.Mr. Peter Whent - Ex-Detective Chief super intendant of transport police