IC Bus Hosts Innovation Summit on Future of School Bus Industry

The Next Stop Innovation Summit brought together leaders from the bus and other industries to discuss the future of school bus transportation.

On Wednesday, February 22, IC Bus hosted a cross-section of thought leaders from within the school bus transportation industry and beyond for a first-of-its-kind event at The Next Stop Innovation Summit to understand current market trends and challenges and to begin mapping out the future of the school bus industry and its impact on millions of lives. To highlight the entrepreneurial spirit of the summit, bus leaders from various backgrounds in education, technology, innovation, safety, and sustainability convened at 1871 in Chicago for an honest conversation about the industry of today and where technology and macro trends are leading it. With a diverse mix of speakers, panels, and working sessions, the interactive summit helped to lay the groundwork for the school bus transportation industry ahead.

"Our industry touches so many people, and although the yellow school bus is an icon of safety and reliability in transporting millions of children to and from school each day, here at IC Bus, we recognize that the evolution of the school bus is always in progress," says Trish Reed, Vice President & General Manager, IC Bus. "We created the Innovation Summit with an attitude toward modernizing and innovating the school bus industry in order to meet the ever changing demands of tomorrow."

Participants at the summit included innovators from outside the industry providing fresh perspectives on top trends that could affect the school bus industry. Individuals such as Howard Putnam, former CEO of Southwest Airlines; Howard Tullman, CEO of 1871; and Adam Alonso, Executive Director of BUILD Inc. shared unique understanding on disruptive ideas that affected their organizations and how this might affect the school bus transportation market.

"This is one of the more unique speaking experiences in my professional career and I enjoyed sharing my lessons learned as an airline industry executive who looked to shake things up and try new things," says Putnam. "As I attended sessions and spoke with participants, it is clear to me that the school bus transportation leadership are prepared to change the way the game is played, rather than just simply play the game."

In addition, industry experts and leaders spoke about the latest innovations in bus safety, routing for efficiency, and connected vehicle services. Several of the companies and organizations represented were Bendix, the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, and Edulog.

"We heard a broad range of imaginative and thought provoking ideas on what the school bus industry could look like over the next decade at the Innovation Summit," says Reed. "We gathered at the summit to mobilize the next generation of school bus transportation and innovation. As part of IC Bus' Next Stop initiative, the summit served to facilitate ongoing dialogue with all the stakeholders in pupil transportation – parents, students, customers, and transportation partners alike – to collectively chart the future of the yellow school bus and its important role in educating our children."