Boston Saved $5 Million by Routing School Buses with an Algorithm
In 2017, the district was facing serious challenges. On a per-pupil basis, BPS had the highest transportation costs in the country, around $2,000 per student per year, representing 10 percent of the district’s budget. The schools dealt with rising costs each year, despite declining ridership. The on-time performance rate of their buses was also well below that of other large districts.
With no clear vendor to turn to with this problem, BPS instead sought out experts, hosting a competition where researchers could experiment with anonymized BPS data sets to create efficient routes and optimal start times for each school.