District to implement SMART tag system for bus riders

In an effort to increase the efficiency of drivers, authorized ridership, and communication with parents, Lake Travis Independent School District officials will implement the SMART tag transportation system for all student bus riders beginning February 16.   

Each district school bus will be outfitted with a Samsung tablet equipped with a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) reader, mobile connectivity, and Global Positioning System.  Similar to systems used in public transportation, students will place their SMART tag ID badges on the tablet’s sensor when entering and exiting the bus. Only the student’s name and associated bar code will be printed on the ID badge.  No other information will be stored on the badge.

“We have the tremendous responsibility of transporting our students to and from school each day, and we take that responsibility very serious,” Lake Travis ISD Director of Transportation Rhonda Davis said. “We firmly believe the SMART tag system will provide our parents with added confidence in our transportation services, reassuring them of our commitment to student safety.”

Specifically, the SMART tag system will wirelessly transmit information to the district’s transportation department staff to include the location of each bus, the names of the students on board each bus, notification of an approaching bus, and the ability to view a student’s ridership activity.

“Our bus drivers will also benefit from the new system through improved safety and automation of tasks, better enabling them to focus on the safe transport of students,” Ms. Davis added.  

Students will receive one SMART tag ID badge at their respective campus at no charge prior to the February 16 launch.  District officials emphasize that a SMART tag ID badge will be required each time a student enters and exits the bus.  However, drivers will not deny any student of transportation services if the student does not have his or her badge present at boarding time.  Information on how to obtain a replacement badge is posted on the Lake Travis ISD website under 'SMART tag.'  

The SMART tag system also offers parents a bus tracking feature through a secure online portal.  Parents can register to receive ‘SMART Alert’ text messages notifying them their child is 10-15 minutes from his or her bus stop. The portal may be accessed from any device with a web browser. Parents can also add or remove guardians authorized to pick up their child at school through the Parent Portal.

“In time, we hope our parents will appreciate the many advantages of the SMART tag system and how it will help improve the safety and security of our students, as well as the efficiency and accuracy of our drivers and transportation personnel.”

For more information about the SMART Tag system, including a list of Frequently Asked Questions, visit www.ltisdschools.org/transportation.