CMPS Basics 01

Get to Know Compass


Compass is a web-based solution for school transportation management that completely integrates routing, student tracking, vehicle tracking and surveillance. Since Compass is truly web-based, users don’t need to install any specific software or maintain their own servers for full functionality.

What does Compass do?

  • By simply logging in, users can start planning routes or tracking vehicles and students from their own web browser. Compass is a powerful routing software that features simple 2-step route building and automatic optimization.

  • Schools can easily synchronize student information systems to Compass. One Database holds student information offering users the best experience.

  • Users can monitor video surveillance in real time or learn about the vehicle data status. DVR health-check, panic alarms or even stop-arm deployment can be detected from any device that has access to the Internet.

  • Compass is based on ESRI Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for mapping and planning, and users have the ability to modify ESRI-based maps to suit their needs.

  • Users don’t need to import GPS data in order to see live vehicle tracks in a map or check the occupants of the vehicle at any time. By clicking a button, all this information is immediately available.

Get Familiar with Compass Terminology

It is important for customers to familiarize themselves with several concepts that are crucial to achieve a good understanding of how Compass works before they are able to take advantage of its capabilities. Let’s take a look at them:

  • Scenarios

    Loading a scenario is the very first step for a user who has already logged in to the Compass Route Builder website. A Scenario is a version of the conditions that affect the routing events and it is determined by a complete set of data.

    In other words, customers can create scenarios based on their needs and different scenarios will contain different data. For example, some customers might need to have different scenarios for different seasons throughout the school year. Since Compass Scenarios are associated to school districts, related data has to be available before a Scenario can be created.

    Safe Fleet will initially provide its customers with one scenario but having this cloned before doing any work is recommended. This will allow the user to have two sets of the original data as a safety measure.

  • Maps

    ESRI-based Maps are fundamental for customers to develop routes in Compass as they present valuable graphic information. However, it is important to understand that these maps are ineffective without data. It is necessary to build the dataset before using any of the map-related features and such dataset will be linked to the map once the user loads an existing scenario.

    When data is available, the user may get information from those features displayed on the Map by clicking on them.

  • Runs

    A Run is a set of directions used by a driver to drive the bus off a depot, pick up students at assigned stops, drop those students off at the selected place (generally a school) and then drive back to the depot or proceed to complete another Run. Of course, a different Run for the same driver could follow the inverse path, leaving the depot to pick up students at school, dropping them off at assigned stops (normally their residences) and then driving back the bus to the depot. Notice that for every Run, either pick up or drop off will generally be at the school.

  • Stops, Schools and Students

    In order to plan Runs, users need to create Stops first, which will determine the course of the Run. Stops are those places where students are going to be picked up or dropped off by a bus every day, so they also require two more sets of data to have a real meaning, Schools and Students, which are linked to specific addresses. Such data has to be loaded into the database before the user starts working on the actual routing.

    Furthermore, Stops always need to include pick up and drop off information to be created (i.e. when students get on the bus and when they finally get off).

    It is also important to know that Compass allows the creation of two different types of Stops, depending on where these Stops are located relative to the students’ residencies. Curb-to-Curb Stops are situated by the students’ residencies and Group Stops may be planned to be at any place near the residencies of several students who will be able to walk to such Stops from home.

  • Routes

    We can describe Routes as Runs grouped together within a single programmed itinerary. A bus driver might need to do two or more Runs with different purposes before finally returning the bus to the depot. For example, there might be two groups of students going to school at different times in the morning, or one group might be taken to school and the other to a different location. The resulting combination of Runs is what we call a Route in Compass.

  • Vehicles

    Compass uses the term Vehicles to refer to all the vehicles available for customers’ route planning. Since vehicles are held in Depots, the location of these are an essential piece of information from the very beginning of any project.

    Obviously, the size of any selected vehicle needs to be in accordance with the number of riders, but also options of equipment and aids must be taken into consideration when including vehicles in a run. Some examples are wheel chair adaptation, seat belts or safety vests availability.