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Interview - How Technology can help improve transportation service offering with Operations Risk Manager at an International School in China

Kevin Lloyd

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1473007428_DriverApponbus.thumb.png.3d8d7886c792abc8b842fdd285f1c887.pngInterview with Carlos Guerrero

About Carlos Guerrero: 

Carlos served as the Operations Risk Manager at Shanghai American School, in Shanghai China. He was involved with all areas of school operations, as a safeguard to mitigating risk, this included transportation and the reopening of the school under Covid regulations. Carlos is currently advising schools on transportation and risk management.

About Shanghai American School in Shanghai, China: 

A large international school with more than 3,000 students located on 2 campuses situated on opposite sides of the city. The transportation service consisted of more than 200 buses and was offered to not only students but also staff. 



Carlos outlined the challenges of normal or Pre-Covid operations called for busses to run with full rider capacity and have the most optimal routes (fewer routes). Now that model has been turned upside down and the school is often required to operate at half capacity or less and manage the difficulty in balancing fluctuations in ridership. How he responded to manage and eventually succeed in this changing environment was to embrace technology. There are three areas Carlos highlighted where technology has helped: Safety, Efficiency and Communications. .


  • Data can help avoid unsafe scenarios and will help to better deal with unexpected scenarios. The 3 areas include: 
    • Immediately updates on bus locations such as 
      • Getting information on bus accidents from the driver before they are reported by parents through their students
      • Inform buses where there are construction issues or other issues
      • Coordinate diversions such as one case where there were no functioning bathrooms in the morning at one campus, so needed to reach parents and coordinate a sudden closure
    • Immediate updates on student locations
      • Getting and responding when students miss the bus or board the wrong bus 
      • Parent confidence and trust is critical, you cannot be successful with your administration – when parents put their young children (as young as 5 years old) on the bus, they must be confident in the service
    • On demand data to manage routes and ridership
      • You will need DATA to gain support for changes!


  • There are two areas where efficiency have been achieved at the Shanghai American School:
    • Running the fewest buses required to support our level of riders.
    • Lower number of staff employed to provide the service
  • What Shanghai American School did to achieve these efficiencies
    • Data to track bus routes and timing
    • Data to track bus occupancy
    • Secure support in the community to support change.  
      • Covid caused huge drops in ridership as parents had to regain confidence in bus operations  
      • As confidence comes back there are increases in ridership which can come unexpectedly  
      • View real data to make daily or weekly updates on routes, for capacity or timing
      • Two way communication with parents for planning done on a weekly or daily basis


  • Communication supports operations in two ways:
    • Allows for change 
    • Allows to build trust and support for the change
  • Examples of the value that communication provides:
    • Communication turns our change into win-win scenarios - in sometimes unexpected ways. Saying nothing usually allows for negative interpretations to gain momentum in the community rumour mill. Not losing trust or perception during a change is often really a win
    • If you cannot communicate the changes then you will be prevented from making changes. Lines of communication will need to be established such as using an App.
    • If you can communicate your safety readiness and your gains with efficiency, then you will be supported by the community and administration.
    • You must understand and account for the speed of communication in your school community - social media and messenger communication are used extensively by parents such as WeChat or WhatsApp. Parents expect this and therefore it is an important factor in successful communication


  • Technology can really help to deliver 
    • Safe environment
    • Efficient operations and 
    • Engagement within the  community

Watch the full Interview here - 



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