School Bus Fleet

September 2014

A management & maintenance magazine for school transportation fleets

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26 S C H O O L B U S F L E E T • S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 4 2014 EQUIPMENT SURVEY Trends in school bus camera implementation BY PAUL IRBY Digital school bus cameras continue to be a credible option for security-mind- ed feet managers and district adminis- trators. School boards are often willing to consider investing in security so- lutions that seem cost-effective when compared to their expected risk-man- agement and enforcement benefts. To examine the dynamics of this market, we looked in Onvia's compre- hensive database of school district con- tracts and awards over the past four years and searched for terms related to "school bus cameras." We identifed a group of 160 bids, RFPs and awards, which were analyzed for this article. 3 cameras per bus on average Many districts employ multiple cameras per bus for a broader range of views. As an example, a large dis- trict in Georgia awarded a multi-mil- lion dollar contract specifying that all of its buses would be ftted with three internal security cameras, with an op- tion for external stop-arm cameras to be added in the future. We analyzed 12 camera award contracts and found that the three camera-per-bus ratio ap- pears typical for installations. Per-camera costs vary Looking at seven examples with de- tailed data, total project costs average around $1,200 to $1,300 per camera, factoring in digital video recorders for data storage, equipment, labor and in- stallation. The wide variation in per- camera averages ($850 to $1,800) can be at least partially explained by dif- ferences in confgurations and options. Large and small districts Our data suggest that security and risk management concerns transcend enrollment and agency size. In the fve largest bus camera awards, district enrollment size ranges from 4,000 to more than 100,000 students. Of the top 10 awards, the overall average enroll- ment is fairly large (34,900), but seven of the 10 districts are under 25,000. Price per student varies Some districts appear to buy for a portion of their bus feet rather than the entire feet. The multi-million dol- lar contract in Georgia mentioned above was a full deployment; the av- erage cost per enrolled student in that instance came to $31. However, many projects involved spending at a much lower rate per student — as low as sev- eral dollars each when you factor in the entire student headcount. These low- er rates of relative spending suggest a pattern of selective deployment, such as a pilot or only targeting one catego- ry, such as elementary schools. Most buying in frst half of year Bus camera contracting tends to follow seasonal patterns, with pro- curement activity concentrated in the months of January through June (66%) as well as in the month of September (11%) at the start of the school year. Conclusion Digital school bus camera imple- mentations happen in districts of all sizes in a seasonal pattern. There are a variety of confgurations, such as inte- rior and exterior mounted units. Our data show an average price of $1,200 to $1,300 per camera unit and multiple cameras being used per bus. However, large differences in pricing and budgets relative to district size suggest agencies are able to fnd indi- vidualized approaches, such as par- tial deployments, to meet their specifc risk-management needs and funding constraints. Paul Irby is a market ana- lyst at Onvia (www.onvia. com), focused on research- ing government procure- ment trends. Onvia tracks and reports the spending of tens of thousands of federal, state and local government agencies, giving companies a single source for conducting business with govern- ment. Irby has 17 years of market research experience serving clients in a range of industries, including school districts.

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