Description of Benefits and Lessons Learned from State Self-Evaluations of Commercial Vehicle Information Systems and Networks (CVISN) Deployments (October 2003 to August 2006)
This report entitled Description of Benefits and Lessons Learned from State Self-Evaluations of Commercial Vehicle Information Systems and Networks (CVISN) Deployments: Draft (October 2003 to August 2006) included an analysis of CVISN and its impacts on the commercial vehicle operations in the United States. Between October 2003 and August 2006 the U.S. DOT evaluated CVISN deployments in 34 states. Self-evaluation survey forms were made available to state CVISN managers encouraging them to record and share information regarding their experiences with their electronic screening, safety information exchange, and electronic credentialing deployment activities. To help standardize the types of information collected and allow for cross cutting analysis three types of survey forms or templates were developed (Deployment, Costs; Benefits/Lessons Learned). These forms were made available to CVISN managers on a password protected website.
To collect qualitative information on lessons learned during the CVISN self-evaluation process, evaluation templates were made available to CVISN managers. Participants provided plain-language responses to specific questions regarding technical challenges, institutional issues, and recommendations. Researchers reviewed the responses, identified common themes, and summarized the results.
A key question (Q42) asked in the survey was: "Looking back, what are the most important steps you would have taken (or avoided taking) if you had known at the beginning what you know now about deploying CVISN technologies." The lessons below were derived from summary data and responses received from 23 states.
- Maintain continuity among personnel, vendors, and consultants throughout the deployment process. When planning, implementing, and integrating CVISN technologies, emphasize the importance of establishing clear communications and cooperative relationships among all parties involved. Be certain that the state has a clear understanding of federal goals and objectives. Use the National ITS Architecture for the basis of the CVISN design and supplement that with standards defined by the CVISN program.
- Allow sufficient time for deployment. Differing agency priorities can cause schedule delays. Understand the status of the existing standards at the time of development. Without standards, the development effort could be exposed to changes that will cause delays.
- Request adequate funding. Lack of sufficient funding and difficulties in maintaining support for CVISN programs were frequently cited as a challenge, both in terms of budgetary and matching-fund limits, and in terms of retaining sufficient, dedicated, trained staff, especially in the information technology area.
The survey findings suggest that CVISN technologies offer great potential for increased efficiency; however, the system is underutilized and only about 20 percent of trucks are equipped. To encourage further development, the following lessons were offered:
- Create a federal rule that standardizes the placement and format of apportioned plates, and facilitate delivery of information to enforcement officers. Several states identified a disconnect between the need for national standards and the need to accommodate individual differences among the states. Several states indicated that the federal government has provided basic direction, but each state in some respects has chosen to go its own way.
- Provide a federal subsidy for operating funds to enhance enforcement functions. Note that the larger, lower-risk, safer carriers can take early advantage of CVISN productivity and efficiency benefits, however, the larger population of smaller, higher-risk carriers with limited economies-of-scale may be more difficult to engage without providing them with incentives to improve participation and compliance.
- Provide federal investment or incentives to improve mobile communications, reduce associated costs, and increase coverage. Mobile communications are currently a key limiting factor in information exchange/ information access.
Overall, the survey group indicated that CVISN has potential to offer tangible benefits in terms of safety, efficiency, and productivity for both roadside (electronic screening and safety information exchange) and administrative (credentialing) operations for commercial vehicles. States may require long-term funding commitments to complete CVISN. When asked to envision their best-case outcome for CVISN deployment in the future, states indicated that full functionality and interoperability were key goals.