Developing an Intelligent Decision Support System Framework for School Transport Management

Author/Creator ORCID






Doctor of Philosophy

Citation of Original Publication



The current school bus stops along school bus routes in the UAE are based on requests from the parents, and most of them are in front of the main gate of each student’s house. As a result, bus stops are generally placed so close to each other that in some cases the distance between two stops is just 40 meters. Moreover, a lack of school transportation planning often leads to having unnecessary bus stops, which increases the travel time of the school bus. In this research, GIS-based models were created to assist the Emirates Transport Authority and Ministry of Education in optimizing their bus stops. The main constraints were determined by the Emirates Transport Authority such as proposed location for stops, and average dwelling time for each student. The ArcGIS network analyst extension was used to create optimum route models and assign each student to a new bus stop. These two models, new route model and location-allocation model, were used to identify redundant bus stops throughout the study area (Dibba al Fujairah- U.A.E). The result suggested 73% of the current bus stops could be eliminated, saving approximately 26% of the travel time. Eleven students live within 350 meters of the main gate of the school, so they are not eligible for free school transportation. The models developed in this study can easily be transferred to other UAE school districts and re-run based on user-defined parameters. For sure, it will inspire the school transport and Ministry of Education officials to examine and apply the proposed systematic optimal route design approach to their current system. Finally, this study opens the door to further investigation for various aspects for improving the school transportation system in the UAE, such as reducing the number of bus fleets and carbon dioxide.