Kent County Council (KCC) has transformed the efficiency of its special education needs (SEN) minibus services thanks to software from QRoutes that optimises efficiency by up to 15%.
Using QRoutes’ product, KCC reviewed 1,500 routes and transport for 4,000 SEN pupils, along with 1,000 people entitled to social care transport. For that provision, KCC has a combined annual budget of £25m and so the possible saving is substantial.
“At the heart of the reorganisation of our transport services was QRoutes, which has enabled us to plan and optimise transport for every one of our almost 5,000 users,” says KCC Client Transport Manager Shane Bushell.
“It’s a task that would have been impossible with manual planning and we have achieved savings of up to 15% through improved routing and vehicle utilisation.”
KCC has found that manually planning a route takes between two and three days. QRoutes’ software performs the same task in a few minutes. Additionally, its results have been proven to be better, as it can simultaneously handle variable factors such as stop times and other complexities.
“With a small team of seven people managing the entire transport service, we could not cope without QRoutes,” adds Shane. “We’ve discovered some other significant benefits as well. Because QRoutes uses maps, it is a very useful tool for showing how and why routes are calculated, so we can explain decisions to clients and stakeholders.
“Additionally, the system gives highly-consistent results for the shortest available routes used by our transport providers.” Over a 30-month period, KCC moved away from tendering for the 1,500 routes individually to a school-based approach. That means fewer contracts, with a ‘bulk buy’ approach delivering economies of scale.
For more information on QRoutes, see the September issue of miniplus, published on 20 August.