School Transportation News caught up with Murrell Martin, state director from Utah and the 2015 National Congress on School Transportation steering committee chair, at the STN EXPO in Reno, Nevada. Murrell shared several items of interest in preparation for NCST in May, including the special committees formed to chronicle industry innovations and tell the story of the yellow school bus.
The formation of a similar committee on technological enhancements to school busing and student transportation was planned for the 2010 NCST, but never materialized. All three executive directors from the industry's national associations — Mike Martin of NAPT, Charlie Hood of NASDPTS and Ronna Weber of NCST — have agreed to sit on the committee, Murrell Martin said, with Wyoming State Director David Koskelowski serving as chair.
"One component is a requirement of chronicling cost-benefit analysis on innovation effects on the industry," Martin explained. "All three associations asked to post this information on their websites."
He added that the committee has been instructed to avoid adding any members that may present a conflict of interest because of vested interests in certain innovations.
Bob Riley, the recently retired NASDPTS executive director, is chairing the aptly named "Telling the Story" committee at NCST that will provide a timeline of school busing and student transportation during the past century. Martin said the goal is to store the historical information electronically and to share it museums. The committee is also charged with identifying a location for a national school bus museum.
Martin added that the committee is seeking information from all 50 states that may have archived historical data, as well as from school bus manufacturers.
The 75th anniversary of the first national school bus specifications meeting, which was called by Frank Cyr at Teacher's College of Columbia University in 1939, is marked by the first-ever legal contract between NCST and the University of Central Missouri, which hosts the event in Warrensburg, located southwest of Kansas City. Martin said NCST also negotiated to provide an electronic file of the final, approved version of the National School Bus Specifications and Procedures manual. All state delegates will receive a copy.
Forty-eight states were represented at the 2010 NCST, with Hawaii and Mississippi being the only two not in attendance. Martin said the goal for next May is to have all 50 states in Warrensburg. He added that Canada will again send representatives, while invitations will be extended to the United Arab Emirates and any other interested countries.