Northside ISD Bus ROAD-EO, Region 13 & 20

Now here’s something of a slower, but very precise change of pace…

NISD Road-EO PanoramaNISD - Bus ID

On Saturday, April 10th, 2010, the CENTEX Chapter of the Texas Association for Pupil Transportation put on the Bus ROAD-EO for the School Districts of  Regions 13 (the Austin area) & Region 20 (the San Antonio area).  This is an annual event.  It was put on this year by the NISD (Northside Independent School District), of San Antonio, Texas.

NISD Buses lined up, ready for ROAD-EO action...

What’s a Bus ROAD-EO?  It’s a competition among school district bus drivers to test their ability to properly & accurately navigate a set course of traffic cones, PVC pipe defined areas to park within, following set rules and using their multiple mirrors to the utmost.

A bus mirror medley

I also noted that the entire set of back windows was papered over, further challenging judging distances to the rear.  That’s no easy feat with the large rear overhang of a school bus.

These buses swing wide!

Bottom line?  It’s a serious test of judgment!  This competition showcases the precision & care that good school bus drivers demonstrate.  This is all being done while being smooth & not jerky with bus control.  They had to back into a narrowly defined area within certain parameters.

Backing into a rope (on ground) defined area, within those double white lines!

They had the stop & verify at certain types of signage, like a railroad sign.

The drivers had to correctly make a 90 degree turn without climbing over cones representing curved curbing.

Cones serving as curbing...

A tricky maneuver was that of placing the right rear tires between a series of narrow tennis ball “gates, that got even narrower as one progressed slowly forward.

The rear wheels thru the decreasing width tennis balls!

They were a set of PVC-defined “walls”, so to speak, that got narrower as one progressed.  This took the clearance width down to 1″ on each side of the bus!

The decreasing width, PVC-defined 'walls'...

Of course you had your dreaded parallel parking challenge.  It was awesome to see when it was done precisely & quickly.  Whereas others were awkward & sometimes hit the curb.   There was a time limit of 3 minutes – they could pull forward again to retry within that time window.   The closer to the curb one parked (within 18″) the fewer demerits were taken away.  More than 18″, they lost all points for that sector.

A great parallel parking job!

Toward the end there were 2 offset “walled” (with PVC, again) gates.  It was easier said than done, check out the slow transition from one to the other…

A slow motion chicane with these big yellow boxes!

Not to be left out were the “special needs” buses & their drivers.

Special needs bus

They some of the same maneuvers, but they also had to prove they knew the methods to safely load & secure & unload their wheelchair-bound passengers.

Demostrating safe loading of the wheelchair bound...

I’m sure you’ve figured by now that this was not a speed event.  Everything was slow, controlled & deliberate.  Although it was not exciting to watch like an autocross or a gymkhana, it did hold a certain fascination to see these bright yellow behemoths gently transported across the pavement.  I was given these 2 pins as a memento of the event.  I share them with you here below.

NISD Bus ROAD-EO Event pins

Meanwhile, the abundant Texas Bluebonnets looked on…

Texas Bluebonnets at the NISD Bus ROAD-EO

Racing Ready now holds more respect for the school bus drivers out there.

'We Deliver The Future' - a great motto for school bus drivers

Keep up the great work, school bus drivers!  Even with the lack of respect they’re given on the roadways & by their passengers, our school children… they carry the future of our society!


P.S. – For those interested in the rules & regulations specifics of this event, see
the School Bus Safety ROAD-E-O Regulations.  They are quite detailed!

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4 thoughts on “Northside ISD Bus ROAD-EO, Region 13 & 20”

  1. when or where can i find info on the up comming roadeo for 2013? we want to start a new team at elgin isd and also need the info on how to build the opstical corse as well. thanks for you help.

  2. Hola! I’ve been following your website for some time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Atascocita Texas! Just wanted to say keep up the fantastic work!

  3. I have received some questions as to how to get more information about this Bus Road-E-O. It took me awhile to get some contact information, so here goes…

    Here is a list (from that shows Member Districts & Contact Information:

    Here is the 2012 Entry Application, for the CENTEX Chapter TAPT School Bus Safety Road-E-O: I know this is from last year’s competition which has already passed, but it has additional contact information that may be helpful.

    I hope this assists any of you considering this safety-related & unique competition!

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