Qatar's School Transportation System
Feb 13, 2012
|PDF file||0.1 MB||
Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.
In light of the many challenges associated with Qatar's continued growth and demographic changes, the government of Qatar wants to update its school transportation system (STS). Stakeholders, including school administrators and the Supreme Education Council, have voiced a variety of concerns about the current state of school transportation, ranging from safety and traffic congestion to efficiency and service quality. The government of Qatar asked the RAND-Qatar Policy Institute (RQPI) to assess stakeholder perspectives on school transportation, help identify a vision and goals for the STS, identify international norms for school transportation, and highlight strategies for Qatar to achieve better alignment with international norms.
To develop the vision, RQPI researchers reviewed key planning documents for Qatar, interviewed school administrators at several schools, and surveyed parents at those schools to identify the characteristics that the STS should embody. Armed with this information, researchers drafted a vision comprising the following four elements:
The researchers next identified the goals necessary to realize the four elements of the vision. For example, to achieve the safety portion of the first vision element, they identified "Effective safety standards and measures are established and enforced" as a goal. To minimize the effect on traffic congestion, they identified "Transportation operations minimize delays and traffic around schools" as a goal. Having defined the vision and goals, the researchers then turned to developing strategies that would achieve the goals and thereby realize the vision.
Researchers identified a number of strategies for achieving the proposed vision. Many of the strategies would bring Qatar's school transportation system into closer alignment with international norms. The researchers also identified a few strategies that, while not commonly practiced, may interest Qatar because of stated preferences of administrators and parents. The strategies fall into five major categories:
The table lists the strategies identified within the five categories and the elements of the vision that each strategy supports. Many of these strategies carry little risk and can be implemented with modest investments. The researchers specifically recommend strategies for which (1) implementation obstacles appear to be modest and (2) anticipated costs appear to be modest. For example, the development of a school transportation policy manual, standardized student loading procedures, and bus driver training can yield significant benefits without large investments. Some potential strategies emerged that may offer benefits but also raise important issues related to cultural concerns, uncertain cost-effectiveness, or inconsistency with international norms. Those strategies are not currently recommended but may warrant future consideration.
|Strategy||Supported Vision Elements|
|School Zone Management|
|Establish clearly marked school zones||Safety, Traffic|
|Use traffic laws, education, and enforcement to improve safety||Safety, Traffic|
|Bus Design and Operation|
|Institute school bus standards||Safety, Quality|
|Establish bus driver standards, training, and evaluation||Safety, Quality, Values|
|Standardize driver checklists and reporting||Safety, Quality, Efficiency|
|Integrate Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags into buses||Safety, Efficiency|
|Establish maintenance standards and monitoring||Safety, Quality|
|Fleet Operations and Management|
|Optimize bus routes||Efficiency|
|Institute pick-up/drop-off points||Efficiency|
|Stagger school start times||Efficiency, Traffic|
|Alter fleet size and composition||Quality|
|Information, Communication, and Analysis|
|Create a policy manual||Safety, Quality, Efficiency|
|Conduct an awareness campaign||Safety, Access|
|Elicit stakeholder feedback||Safety, Quality, Efficiency, Values|
|Gather and assess safety data||Safety|
|Establish and monitor efficiency metrics||Efficiency, Quality|
|Enhance bus monitor requirements||Values, Quality|
|Establish student loading and unloading procedures||Safety|
|Manage student behavior||Values, Quality|
|Provide access to media on buses||Quality|
Qatar's STS does not conform to international norms in a number of areas. To better align Qatar's STS with common international practices, researchers recommend that Qatar consider pursuing the 13 strategies explained in further detail below. The recommended strategies carry little implementation risk, and most can be implemented with modest investments:
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Research brief series. RAND research briefs present policy-oriented summaries of individual published, peer-reviewed documents or of a body of published work.
This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.