QPaths automates home-to-school assessments for LAs

QRoutes, a provider of software solutions to local authority (LA) transport planners, has launched QPaths. The new product will automate the assessment of children’s eligibility for home-to-school transport.

QPaths has been developed in partnership with North Tyneside Council. It will be used by LA home-to-school transport departments to help to simplify assessing home-to-school distances.

Using routing technology and a GIS map, planners can create a precise view of students’ shortest safe walking route in seconds to determine their eligibility to free school transport. It also integrates with council online portals to assist with more immediate answers and providing speedy decisions.

QPaths uses the UK’s most comprehensive maps from Ordnance Survey, including the latest Paths Network. That makes it reliable and accurate, QRoutes says. Previously, planners calculated applications manually using Google Maps as a guide.

QRoutes adds that its precision measurements could create “significant cost efficiencies” for LAs. It also reduces the need for human intervention on whether a student is eligible for free home-to-school travel. In the event of an appeal, QPaths allows interventions by planners with an audit trail of outcomes.

QPaths is GDPR compliant and stores no data on students. It has other functions that can improve road and route safety. As an example, it is integrated with Google Street View, meaning that routes can be assessed for their suitability. Planners can easily label unsuitable routes, allowing them to be blocked from an eligibility assessment.

Says QRoutes Customer Success Manager Andrew Fish: “We are pleased to offer a faster and more accurate solution for planners in education and transport departments. That will help them to free up their time, which will be critical as schools begin to reopen following coronavirus COVID-19.

“We hope that this solution will offer peace of mind to parents that their child’s safety is paramount.”

A representative of development partner North Tyneside Council adds: “Distance eligibility testing was taking our small team too long, causing potential delays in decisions.

“We wanted to improve our service to our customers, and we needed a fast, efficient and accurate way of calculating the safest walking route to school. QPaths has provided us with that tool.”