Every year, the state of Indiana inspects around 17,000 school buses to help ensure that they are in good condition and that their various parts meet the state and federal safety regulations. Buses more than 12 years old, however, undergo inspections twice a year. These yearly inspections are conducted by 19 Indiana State Police officers.
For this year’s round of inspections, however, the Indiana police is trying out a newly developed Web app designed to help streamline the statewide bus inspections. This new Web app is expected to significantly reduce the number of hours that officers dedicate to these inspections. The app also has a built-in quick response code functionality for easy tracking.
Ordinarily, officers assigned to do the inspections had to mark off a paper checklist and then manually re-enter this checklist into their database. This paper-based process – which starts in January and is completed by the end of September – was time-consuming and cumbersome.
To find a solution to this problem, the Indiana State Police started working with a computer class at the Indiana University, Purdue University Indianapolis in July 2010. The development of the app was taken on as a project and the concept was presented five months later to Indiana Interactive, which is a subsidiary of e-government provider and Indiana’s Web services manager, NIC USA.
The app was developed to run on a Blackberry PlayBook tablet. The app is now in its pilot stage and is now being used by the officers responsible for the school bus inspections. The Indiana State Police, the Indiana Office of Technology, and Indiana Interactive worked together to help secure a grant funding for each of the 19 inspection officers to get a tablet.
The new app serves as a digitized inspection checklist and functions as a dashboard that indicates which officer is doing an inspection as well as shows when an officer needs assistance. Those buses that fail on certain requirements during the first inspection need to be re-inspected on a later date, so whatever information regarding a failed inspection for a particular bus gets automatically logged into the system.
For better tracking, developers built a QR code functionality into the app. The state police is in the process of placing a QR code on each bus, which is then tracked through the new app. The police hopes that by the end of September this year, all buses that have been inspected will be affixed with a QR code.
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