The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) recently completed a massive systemwide technology upgrade, deploying 2,600 new PCs across the state’s 254 counties. County tax assessor collector (TAC) offices, which conduct vehicle transactions for the TxDMV, also received larger monitors, new printers, keyboards and mice.
PCs with robust processors and a smaller form factor are taking up less space in county offices, while new routers, switches and cables are strengthening the network and improving connectivity, officials say. The new hardware is helping make vehicle title and registration processing more efficient. The DMV can now distribute its interactive training materials to county offices, a capability its old system didn’t have.
Dawn Heikkila, TxDMV’s chief operating officer, explained in an interview with Government Technology that the upgrade, while a long time coming, positions the agency for future improvements that are already in development.
“We're trying to be forward-looking and think about where the agency is headed in terms of service delivery and how our applications are delivered to our business partners. We deployed networking equipment that was wireless-enabled so that when the agency's technology infrastructure matures enough to allow that, we can actually push out Web-based applications.”
Until recently, vehicle-related services were housed within the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). Legislation in 2009 removed these functions from TxDOT and created the DMV, focusing on services commonly delivered by state motor vehicle departments.
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The statewide effort engaged a core group of about a dozen internal DMV staff, supported by peers within the organization as well as their legacy agency, the DOT. Heikkila said assistance from deployment vendor Insight was critical to the project’s success as well.
Officials take pride in the fact that such a large deployment took place with minimal impacts to business operations. The whole process — including planning, evaluation, equipment identification, scheduling and installation — spanned one calendar year. Deployment concluded in April 2012.
Jeremiah Kuntz, the DMV’s director of government and strategic communications, explained that with new infrastructure in place, the DMV is moving forward with an RFP to update the mainframe database. This is the next step in preparing for a Web-based application that officials envision for use at the county level.
“What we're trying to do is get ahead of the curve and get the systems in place that will be able to handle the new software when it rolls out,” he said.
Other plans to leverage technology include the addition of online self-service options. Agency administrators explained that planning efforts are now under way, with deployment expected in 2013.
Government Technology editor Noelle Knell has more than 15 years of writing and editing experience, covering public projects, transportation, business and technology. A California native, she has worked in both state and local government, and is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, with majors in political science and American history. She can be reached via email and on Twitter.