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Network design analysis for special needs student services.
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  • Alternative Title:
    MBTC DOT 3019 final report : network design analysis for special needs student services
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  • Abstract:
    Population growth can lead to public school capacity issues, as well as increased school bus utilization. This increased utilization, in turn, can result in longer school bus transport times for both regular and special needs/medically fragile students. Special needs or medically fragile students are children with special health care needs who are at increased risk for a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional condition. These students require health and related services of a type or amount beyond that required by typical children. It is common practice to provide special needs students with specially equipped buses and/or special classroom environments with specific facilities or services. However, the assignment of student services to schools is regularly made without regard to bus transportation considerations for special needs students. Considering the potentially negative impact of long school bus rides on these students, we present the first systematic, integrated analyses of special needs student busing and classroom assignments. We provide models and algorithms for maintaining administration-based transportation financial performance measures while simultaneously designing smarter transportation networks. The smarter networks produced by our models assign special needs services to schools in concert with considering both student geographical location and service needs. In the future, we hope to pilot our model results in local school districts to assess the efficacy of our proposed methods in practice.
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