Why didn’t we save money after spending so much on a new Transport Management system?

In the last 30 years, many local authorities have invested large sums of money purchasing and implementing systems to manage their data for transport services, such as home to school. But, it seems, most of these authorities continue to wonder if the cost savings they hoped for are ever realised.

So why aren’t the savings obvious?

Pie chart showing the proportion of transport costs associated with contracts compared to planning overheads

The savings aren’t obvious because traditional systems aren’t good at optimising the majority of the spend.

The chart shows how the cost of providing transport (for mainstream school, SEN, SC& H etc.) is split between that directly associated with transport contracts and the expense of overheads, such as offices and people managing the contracts.

It may not be exactly 95% relating to the contract costs for all authorities but it is of that order.

The quality of service provision is essential; the consequences of error can be dire – e.g. leaving a vulnerable child stranded without transport. Many functions within transport management systems relate to ‘getting it right’; making the workflow of planning and managing passenger data and services secure and robust. This may save some money by creating smooth processes and reducing errors, but the savings aren’t obvious because the proportion compared to the total budget is so small.

To save money in school transport target the highest costs

Where authorities need to save money, the focus needs to be on reducing the number of contracts and ensuring that the remaining contracts are as efficient as possible.

Time and again, authorities tell us that the routing component within larger systems, if there is one at all, isn’t as good as an experienced human planner. This is because routing problems are complex. The best technical solutions are based on advanced algorithms and machine learning that are beyond the scope of the development of a database system.

This is where specialist, automated GIS based route planners, like QRoutes, step in. Our customers regularly report a reduction of between 10% and 20% in the cost of their contracts as a result of using QRoutes. Cost savings that are often six or even 7 figures.

QRoutes is a stand-alone tool which interfaces with, rather than existing within a big system. So, authorities can gain the benefit of advanced routing functions, saving money without the pain and expense of replacing their systems.

QRoutes focusses on the improvement of contracts, reducing them in number while ensuring the remaining stick to operational policies. We target development effort at making QRoutes the best tool available to your planners without having to also continuously develop another database system.

Challenge us

Challenge us – is your routing solution giving the best results? Test QRoutes against your current routing solution, for free, using your data, at your site by booking a visit now