Transportation cost changes with statewide school district consolidation

Abstract This article studies the relationship between school district size and bus transportation costs, and estimates the change in such costs when a statewide policy of consolidation is pursued. To explore this relationship, we develop a multiple-objective model and solution procedure that combines a geographic aggregation and bus routing heuristic to generate consolidation scenarios. The heuristic was developed to explicitly consider efficiency, effectiveness, and equity objectives, and can be applied in both urban and rural states. The scenarios will generate average statewide bus transportation costs. As applied to the State of Iowa, within the legislature's proposed range of consolidation of 500–1000 students, it was found that transportation operational and capital cost increases range from 0.6 to 10.6 percent and 0.7 to 7.7 percent, respectively.

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