Indiana School Buses Get New Surveillance System

Indiana School Buses Get New Surveillance System

The bus fleet’s current camera system requires video download and doesn’t provide high-definition images, making it difficult to see and hear activity inside and outside of the buses, according to Kelley Kitchen, director of finance for GCS.

Much of the Goshen Community Schools bus fleet in Goshen, Indiana, will soon receive a major security upgrade totaling about $145,000. The school corporation plans to fund an upgrade of the bus fleet’s outdated security camera system.

The bus fleet’s current camera system requires video download and doesn’t provide high-definition images, making it difficult to see and hear activity inside and outside of the buses, according to Kelley Kitchen, director of finance for GCS.

 “The camera systems on the bus fleet currently are very outdated and don’t record very well, and they’re not the latest technology,” Kitchen said. “So we’ve looked at a system that will give us a high-definition capacity. It also allows for nighttime video if the bus is dark, it picks up audio, and has interior cameras and an exterior camera that is weatherproof that will go on the bus stop arm. It also allows for the bus driver to mark (video) moments electronically, and also to be WiFi accessible.”

According to Kitchen, only buses with a replacement life of longer than four years will be updated at first. Currently, 35 of the 50-bus fleet meet that requirement.

“If they’re going to be replaced within the next four years, according to our bus replacement plan, then we would wait to install those as we spec the new buses,” Kitchen said.

Installation of the new technology is slated to happen over the winter holiday break. Based on the current plan, all buses currently scheduled for an upgrade to their technology will receive the following upgrades:

Four interior cameras with HD wireless file transfer kit and GPS antenna;

• An HD night vision dome camera that allows low light film and audio

• A DVR that would allow event marking

• A memory card

• An additional HD waterproof night vision side camera for bus stop arm mounting

Kitchen said the proposal also calls for the installation of WiFi access on these buses and installation of a new WiFi access point at the bus parking lot.

“Initially the Wi-Fi would be used only for the camera system, but that could be explored to expand that usage later on,” Kitchen said.

According to Kitchen, the GCS Transportation Department has provided iPads to all their bus drivers and established a Transportation Review Committee, which will meet regularly to review routes, safety protocols, accidents, and pickup and drop off areas.

Goshen Community Schools also plans to roll out use of a new app, SafeStop, to increase safety and communication with parents. The app allows transportation staff to send parents real-time service notifications when there is a change in routes/drivers, Kitchen said.

“This program will be used to communicate with our patrons about real-time bus information,” Kitchen said. “SafeStop will show parents and school administrators where the school bus is along its route, and expected arrival times are also displayed for each bus stop.”

About the Author

Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.