July 2nd, 2012
SHOW ME THE MONEYOptimize Mobility, Preserve Infrastructure, Strengthen the Economy, by Catherine Higgins.
A new UDOT website lets the public see how tax money is spent to build and improve state roads.
Three years in the making, the new UDOT Projects website provides easy access to information about projects, including location, purpose, status, total budget and funding source. UDOT Deputy Director Carlos Braceras had the original vision to create a site where the public could see project funding and costs in as close to real time as possible – not a small order explains UDOT Projects Project Manager Stan Burns.
Building UDOT Projects meant that databases containing project information needed to be automatically fed into the website. The Utah Department of Technology Services found a way to seamlessly link internal databases,which include hundreds of projects, to UDOT Projects. As project information is added to databases, those additions are automatically uploaded to UDOT Projects.
The website presents information for everyone – from the general public to policy makers.
Tabs representing UDOT’s four strategic goals, including Preserve Infrastructure, Optimize Mobility, Improve Safety and Strengthen the Economy, categorize projects by main purpose. Projects in the design, construction or substantially complete phase are placed on a map so citizens can find projects close to home or along a commuter route. Clicking on a project produces pop ups with links to information about budget, costs and status.
Another tab labeled Information Warehouse lists nearly all UDOT projects designed and built during the last 5 years along with future STIP projects. UDOT projects are primarily funded by the Utah Legislature and gas tax revenues which are directed into four funds, and the Information Warehouse Tab gives the status of each fund. On the Project Map tab, an Interactive Project Report tool for queries and analysis lets users sort, view, print and export data.
Altogether, the map, query tool, budget and funding information provide a lot of utility for the public and those who work with UDOT. End users can easily find and display what ever information is desired. “If you want to know how much we’ve spent on pavement preservation, you can see that,” says Burns.