State Departments of Transportation regulate the construction of vehicle entrances onto existing roadways. Regulations for the permitting process can be complex and significant. The process of determining whether an entrance should be allowed crosses multiple domains including design engineering, traffic management, zoning and cross jurisdiction management. Delasoft has created a permitting platform that can respond to the needs of government agencies and meet the demands of this process. This use case highlights the implementation of EPS in a situation where requirements would normally require a custom solution.
The Business Need
The Department of Transportation contracted Delasoft, Inc. to implement a new encroachment permitting system. Encroachment permitting is a core responsibility of the DOT. The department needed an intuitive, lean system that would integrate with their current infrastructure and support their staff in permit review, approval, and maintenance.
The challenges of this project included a highly detailed specifications and needs, including the following:
- The software needed to support internal and external role-based functionality.
- The software needed to integrate with several current systems.
- The software needed to be dynamic and flexible, to keep pace with department practices including changes to legislative requirements.
- The software needed to implement GIS tools, like Esri’s ArcGIS Server.
- The software needed to have mobile capability.
- The software needed to offer high levels of customization and specificity by permit type, location, and other details. Customization needs include:
- Configurable data model and user interfaces
- Configurable business rules
- Documents and communications creation with dynamic content
- Configurable validation and user interface restrictions based on record status and phase.
Delasoft assessed these needs and created implementation specifications documents to meet DOT workflows and requirements.
Typical Industry Practices
When updating software, many transportation organizations will elect to purchase off the shelf applications or contract with a developer to create an entirely unique code base. This requires the DOT to fund a costly custom solution or significantly compromise their business practices and workflows to fit an existing software platform.
At Delasoft, we take a different approach. Rather than offer a rigid base of code, our team has created a platform that allows clients to manage their own interfaces, workflows and business rules. This decreases time spent creating and testing custom code, increases code reliability and consistency, and allows our clients and developers to make modifications to the application without changing the underlying code.
Our process includes three phases: specifications and design, configuration and development, and deployment and testing. We remain communicative with our clients throughout each phase, with regular status reports, demos, and progress analysis.
Specifications and Design
In the interest of building a comprehensive but flexible specification for development, our team met with DOT specialists to analyze and understand the department’s current system and practices. We leveraged our business and technical expertise to thoroughly document DOT workflows and business practices.
We identified which existing practices should continue and which should be altered or enhanced and created detailed specifications for implementation within the platform. Where requirements were incompatible with the platform, we identified opportunities to enhance the platform to fit or made changes to the workflows to achieve the requirements in a different way.
Unique challenges included:
- Maintaining configurability while recreating the expected guided workflows
- Maintaining compatibility with the previous software for data migration and expected user experience
- Providing a guided user experience that minimized user error while providing the flexibility to handle unusual circumstances
Configuration and Development
During the configuration and development phase, our team tackled the challenges of the project with innovative problem solving. We regularly communicated with the DOT, demonstrated application functionality as it was created, and revised our goals based on new obstacles and client feedback.
Key features of the solution implemented include:
- A flexible engine for business rule creation and modification that allows for a high level of configuration by a DOT administrator.
- Tiered permissions and roles, customizable by geographic setting, user groups, responsibilities, and department.
- A comprehensive notification system with a dynamic document builder, responsive notifications and notices, automated updates, and forwarding engine to keep internal and external users connected.
- Integrated GIS tools to maintain data, equip your team with site information, and incorporate key LRS data and principles.
- Mobile capabilities to allow on-site and remote functionality on a variety of devices.
- A streamlined dashboard that prioritizes allows quick access to communications and records.
- Configurable, structured workflows with a user-friendly workflow engine to build, customize, and assign workflows by permit type, user, status, location, and more.
During this development phase, we conducted initial testing, troubleshooting, and product improvement, received feedback from DOT specialists, and revised our list of goals and objectives.
Deployment and Testing
During the deployment phase, our team worked with DOT staff and leadership to install a proof of concept on DOT infrastructure and assessed the software’s performance in the DOT environment. We diagnosed initial IT concerns and resolved any issues that arose during implementation.
The DOT requested proposals for an entrance permitting system with internal and public-facing features, integrated GIS tools, and staff support utilities. Delasoft, Inc. answered this call with a flexible, high utility system designed as a long-term solution.
The DOT received an intuitive system that minimizes obsolescence, increases user agency, and can be adapted and tailored as department practices evolve. Our application is extensible and modular and allows the client to make changes to the system without the cost and delay of contracting the initial developer to modify the base code.