The information technology, engineering, and computer programming aspects of the Connecticut CVISN safety information exchange deployment were carried out almost entirely by the contractors. Working under the direction of the state, each contractor had responsibility for specific elements of the system and then integrating the elements with those deployed by other contractors. While the integration process was complex, the Connecticut experience provides the following guidance:
- Employ a technologically knowledgeable person to manage contractors. Effective development and deployment of complex technologies require management of contractors by a government employee with knowledge of the technologies and good management skills. States have varying levels of in-house programming, computer hardware, and information technology capabilities. For states that plan to contract out significant portions of their CVISN software development, it is critical to have a person on the inside who can effectively represent the state's approach to administering commercial vehicle operations and enforcing regulations, so that the contractor-provided CVISN equipment and programs complement and extend the state's own existing work processes.
- Carefully negotiate responsibilities with each contractor. The state was able to make this kind of deployment work by negotiating carefully with vendors between the time of the request for proposals (RFP) and the contract award, by specifying how the various contractors would collaborate, and by detailing who was responsible for what. This careful negotiation ensured coordination of work among contractors and prevented problems associated with software and hardware incompatibilities.
- Emphasize system integration. Each of the contractors who collaborated with the state in this deployment had specific tasks for integrating its own systems with systems provided by the other contractors. The state made sure that the data exchanges and system integration did not fall through the cracks because of work scopes that were too narrowly defined. All of the separate systems—in this case the electronic credentialing interface as well as systems for exchange of safety, overdimension, International Registration Plan and International Fuel Tax Agreement status, and Performance and Registration Information Systems Management (PRISM) data—were designed and developed with CVIEW integration in mind.
The safety information exchange system deployment in Connecticut has provided several benefits. The real-time access to credentials data and safety data has made the inspection process more efficient. Moreover, inspectors are more easily able to target carriers with poor or unknown safety records, thus helping to improve highway safety. The new system has also improved the mobility of motor carriers with good safety records as they are less likely to be stopped by safety inspectors. An additional benefit of the system is the inspection of commercial vehicles for excessive emissions: Inspectors have found that carriers with poor safety records are also more likely to fail emissions tests. Although the evidence is anecdotal, it appears that the access to comprehensive, real-time safety data at the roadside is providing environmental and health benefits.
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