In a bid to make children’s commute to and from schools safe, a team at IIT-Kharagpur has designed an electronic tracking system through radio frequency identification (RFID) tags which would soon be flagged off at a school here.
The low-cost technology will help address concerns of parents and arrest the proclivity towards private vehicles as a transport option for school goers, the experts say. RFID is the use of radio waves to read and capture information stored on a tag attached to an object. It consists of a tag or label and a reader.
“The student ID cards would be tagged with RFID. On the bus there would be a RFID reader and when the card is ‘read’, the student is identified in the database. The buses would be enabled with GPS devices which is an inexpensive addition. Once the child boards a bus and the system detects him or her, a text message is sent to the parents registered in the database,” Bhargab Maitra, a professor at IIT-Kgp’s civil engineering department, said. Similarly, a message would alert the parents when and where the child deboards.
The RFID system will begin on a pilot basis at the South Point School here in a couple of weeks, Maitra said. The tracker is also linked to an app which would let parents track their children’s movement on a real-time basis “without sacrificing on security and safety”.
Maitra worked in collaboration with S K Ghosh, of the institute’s computer science and engineering department, institute’s students and the Kolkata Traffic Police following a survey to understand the concerns of parents, under the ‘Improvement of School Safety’ project as part of the larger ‘Future of Cities’ initiative supported by the central government.
“If the bus halts at a place for some time, or there is an anomaly, then the police is also alerted so that action can be taken immediately,” he said.
“We have collected data from more than 7,000 parents, primarily from South Point School and St. Xavier’s and we identified where interventions are required. Safety and security came across as two key points,” Maitra added.