Year In Review: PennDOT Supports Local Economies, Improves Customer Service

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Wider use of technology to make operations more customer-friendly and a new initiative, “PennDOT Connects,” to foster a broader, more inclusive approach to transportation planning and project delivery are the hallmarks of PennDOT’s accomplishments in 2016, said Secretary Leslie S. Richards.

“PennDOT is working to be as efficient as possible with taxpayer dollars, and this year we’ve made tremendous strides, once again, to improve how transportation planning supports local economies and how we can work to improve customer service at all levels through innovation and input from Pennsylvanians,” said Secretary Richards. “We are meeting Governor Wolf’s mandate to produce a state government that works and an environment that helps sustain jobs that pay.”

Supporting Local Economies

PennDOT is leveraging resources to improve communities and local economies, building partnerships that invest in sustainable transportation, and putting a greater focus on collaboration with each community as projects are planned so all aspects of transportation can be considered very early in the project development process to support a community’s vision and what is best suited to support job creation and safe, reliable transportation.

This year, PennDOT worked on a county transformation project to rethink county-based operations with an eye to improve efficiencies and service delivery.

Improving Customer Service

PennDOT has taken major steps to improve customer service and deliver more information to Pennsylvanians that help them better navigate roads and services. Drivers can now track all 2,200 PennDOT plow trucks for the first time this winter. An advanced queuing system is helping PennDOT managers reduce wait times at Driver License Centers and a new mobile application is saving time and money for Driver License examiners and construction inspectors. PennDOT Driver and Vehicle Services also introduced a new on-line training and exam portal for vehicle safety inspector recertification for the 80,000 safety inspection technicians across the state.

Saving Taxpayer Dollars

PennDOT also has leveraged its Engineering Construction Management System (ECMS) used for highway and bridge construction for procuring 130 mission-critical facilities construction and renovation projects delegated by the Department of General Services. These included salt storage buildings, vehicle washes, roofs, and HVAC systems. This generated more than $1 million in savings. Fifty-three of the 157 awarded construction contracts (33.76%) were awarded to DGS certified small businesses representing $5.29 million (25.65%) of the total contract award value and 20 of the contracts (12.7%) have a diverse business commitment totaling $294,329 (1.43%).

Translating Taxpayer Investments Into Private Sector Jobs That Pay

With additional resources generated by Act 89, PennDOT increased the dollar amount of construction contracts to roughly $2.4 billion a year, compared to the roughly $1.5 billion possible without Act 89. This added investment also has allowed PennDOT to continue to make progress against the daunting bridge maintenance backlog, and the number of structurally deficient bridges has been cut to 3,662 from a high of 6,034 in 2008. These contracts go to private industry, meaning PennDOT helped to sustain family-supporting jobs. Each $1 billion of transportation investment usually translates into roughly 25,000 good paying jobs.

Supporting Public Transit

And since 2009, PennDOT has worked with transit agencies and local stakeholders to conduct consolidation studies that evaluate the current transit systems and examine options for implementation of regionalized services. As a result of the studies, transit agencies have begun to consolidate to better coordinate services and reduce administrative costs. In south central Pennsylvania, 10 transit agencies have combined shared ride services. In Franklin County alone, the change turned an annual $300,000 to $400,000 deficit into a $100,000 surplus with added service.

Winning Recognition

Based on PennDOT’s overall accomplishments this year, Secretary Richards was recently honored as Female Innovator of the Year for a Government or Non Profit with 2,500 employees or more and Female Executive of the Year in the same category by the international Stevie Awards for Women in Business.

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