New Inspection Tech
Vermont DMV partners with Parsons to bring safety and emissions inspections into the digital age
In the 21st century, old and dated practices are being overhauled with the introduction of new technologies. The world of automotive safety is no exception, with DMVs updating and upgrading their systems to make things more convenient for customers and more efficient for everyone.
In 2015, Vermont decided to transition its safety and emissions inspections from a paper-based system to an electronic program, with the help of Parsons, a digitally enabled solutions provider, and the returns have been positive.
“We’re a small state, but we’re unique,” says Commissioner Wanda Minoli, Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles. “Vehicle inspection stations are privately owned and operated here. We license the mechanics and the stations, but they conduct that business on our behalf.”
A contractual partnership with Parsons began a new chapter for the state of Vermont as the DMV continues to work toward the Governor’s goal of systems modernization. Parsons Project Manager Bonnie McPherson explains that upgrading to a digital format was the next logical step for the state: “Vermont’s goal was to take their paper-based program and collect the data electronically, so using the data they collect would be simpler,” she says. “Parsons brought our cybersecurity experience to mitigate the data security risk. Program oversight, effectiveness metrics and consumer protection are now possible, eliminating the burden of wading through mountains of paper forms.”
What can be done with this information? “Now that we have a few years’ worth of data and trending opportunities, Vermont can more effectively monitor our safety and emissions data,” Commissioner Minoli says. “The Vermont legislature is using this data to look at outcomes—the pass/fail rates, motorist experience, impact on air quality and, of course, the impact on road safety.”
Commissioner Minoli notes that because of the private ownership of these inspection stations, it was important to find a partner who not only catered to the state’s needs, but also those of the businesses themselves.
“Not only is [Parsons] contracted with us, but they are also in business with our partners,” she explains. “And that’s important to the success for Vermont small businesses. The goal was to have all of our inspections conducted using a tablet. No paper-based forms were accepted once we went live. This brought standardization throughout all of our stations. Motorists experience the same safety and emissions testing at any station, which is good for the customers.”
Parsons invested time during the design phase of the system, fostering industry relationships in order to ensure the needs of the inspectors were taken into account. They conducted over 50 open houses, where the industry could touch and feel the equipment, and provide feedback. The company’s in-house User Experience team was involved in the software development, ensuring the inspection process on the tablet is intuitive and efficient, keeping the business focused on the inspection itself, not the technology.
With this new digital system, Commissioner Minoli says things run much smoother on the administrative side for the state.
“All of our records are electronically stored. We eliminated so much administrative work and tasks like data entry,” she says. “We’ve also reduced fraud and sticker shopping. We’ve had great success working with Parsons.”
The new system adds a level of consumer convenience, in addition to business efficiencies, as Parsons includes a VIN-specific vehicle safety recall notice with each inspection. “Our goal is to keep Vermont on the forefront of the available technologies, starting with collecting emissions data through a Bluetooth connection, adding recall information and eventually moving on to future innovations, like addressing ever-changing cybersecurity challenges and managing autonomous and connected vehicles,” says McPherson.
Commissioner Minoli says the business relationship with Parsons is ideal for the state because they truly help and care.
“I always refer to Parsons as a partner, not a vendor,” she says. “Even though they are a contractor, the relationship is truly collaborative and a genuine partnership.”
Featured image: A Vermont inspection mechanic performs an emissions and safety inspection. (Photo credit: Parsons)