The UK's Kent County Council has transformed its Special Educational Needs transport services, with new computerised routing technology that optimises transport efficiency by up to 15 percent. Using cloud-based mapping software from QRoutes, the Council has reviewed 1500 routes and re-planned transport for 4000 Special Educational Needs pupils, as well as 1000 people entitled to Social Care transport.
Covering 12 District Council areas, Kent County Council is the biggest Shire Council taking on Special Educational Needs (SEN) transport. It has a greater number of SEN clients than any other council in the UK. With a £25 million annual budget, the entire SEN and Social Care transport service is run through flexible framework agreements with a mixture of local bus and taxi operators. This negates the need for a large owned fleet that would be too costly to run over such an extensive area.
Over a 30 month period Kent has moved from tendering for 1500 individual routes to a school-based approach with fewer contracts with bulk-buy services giving better economies of scale. According to Kent manually planning a route used to take the team of planners 2 or 3 days. The QRoutes software performs the same task in a few minutes. Additionally the computed results have proven to be better as the system can simultaneously handle variable factors such as stop times and other complexities affecting special needs.