Boston Schools Could Cut Bus Routes Through MIT Plan

Boston Public Schools says dozens of routes could be reduced, allowing for more school funding, after a team of MIT students and professors won the first-ever BPS Transportation Challenge.

It was a national contest that started back in April to come up with ideas to run the district's bus system more efficiently.

The team created an algorithm that looked at thousands of possible bus routes, and the trillions of situations that could impact those trips.

The team was awarded a $15,000 prize for winning the contest’s 1st round. The money came in part from private donors.

According to the district, the winning team’s plan would remove 40-50 bus routes and involve dozens of driver layoffs. But this could save the district $3-5 million.

"We’re working very closely with the drivers union," said John Hanlon, Chief of Operations for Boston Public Schools.

It could also improve the on-time performance rate, maximize the number of students riding each bus and strategically reconfigure bus stops.

"More than anything for students and families, we expect that the $3-5 million that we save from this initiative will be reinvested back into the classrooms," Hanlon said.

Boston Public Schools plans to release the outcome of this work in the fall, through engagement with the broader community.

"The student experience won’t change very much," Hanlon said.

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