Jacobs has developed a new service, the Travel Service Optimisation (TSO) tool, which it says will help to transform transport for special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) children.
The TSO tool is set to transform the home-to-school travel experience for SEND children and young people, helping to advance social inclusion, while also supporting broader environmental and economic benefits. TSO combines Jacobs’ transport planning capability with a new proprietary software system to shape and support travel strategy and planning on a continual basis.
In England, where the TSO tool has been developed, councils and local government spend more than £800m a year providing statutory transport for SEND children and young people. With the size of this population growing, transport budgets tightening and the quality and quantity of bus and taxicab supply shrinking, Jacobs recognised an important need to improve the home-to-school travel experience for these children and young people.
TSO differs from traditional transport planning solutions by digitally clustering travel groups for more appropriate ride sharing within those groups, rather than focusing on vehicles. It is a socially inclusive service that better considers the needs of each child or young person with special educational needs. It helps heads of travel who want to improve the individual’s travel experience, while using their limited budgets in smarter ways by increasing travel efficiency and effectiveness of procurement and potentially reducing transportation carbon emissions in some cases.
“The development of Travel Service Optimisation is a great example of our people looking beyond to raise the bar and deliver tangible ways to increase the quality and social inclusivity of journeys to school for children and young people with special educational needs,” said Jacobs People & Places Solutions senior vice president for Europe and digital strategies, Donald Morrison. “We are launching Travel Service Optimisation in the UK 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,” said Morrison.
Jacobs created Travel Service Optimisation by working with local authorities in England, 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.