Jacobs has developed a Travel Service Optimization tool, which it said would transform the home-to-school travel experience for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
It said the tool combines its transport planning capability with a new proprietary software system to shape and support travel strategy and planning on a continual basis.
The Travel Service Optimization differs from traditional transport planning solutions by digitally clustering travel groups for more appropriate ride sharing within those groups, rather than focusing on vehicles.
Jacobs described the tool as a socially inclusive service that better considers the needs of each child or young person with special educational needs and helps heads of travel who want to improve the individual’s travel experience, while using their limited budgets in smarter ways.
Jacobs said it developed the tool in England, ‘by working with local authorities, parents, caregivers, schools and operators to create a travel planning service that streamlines processes, giving children with special educational needs a chance to enjoy the life benefits of shared travel inclusivity’.
It added that with the size of this group growing, transport budgets tightening, and the quality and quantity of bus and taxicab supply shrinking, it recognized an important need to improve the home-to-school travel experience for these young people.
Jacobs People and Places Solutions’ senior vice president for Europe and digital strategies’ Donald Morrison, said: ‘We are launching Travel Service Optimization in the U.K. initially to enable authorities to transport more children safely, with a travel experience more closely aligned to their individual needs, all within budgetary constraints.
‘We see real potential for this to have global application and benefit children and transport planning teams around the world.’
According to Jacobs, councils in England spend more than £800m a year providing statutory transport for SEND children and young people.