A new GIS tool for retrieving right-of-way information is saving time and funding for UDOT.
Some of the UDOT Right of Way Division’s responsibilities include acquiring property for the expansion of the transportation system and regulating access to roadways by issuing permits. These important functions involve interaction with property owners and developers who need to know the location of a property line or the type of access granted on a roadway. Sometimes UDOT employees need answers about UDOT-owned property as well.
UDOT ROW employees respond to hundreds of complex inquiries each year. Getting answers used to be very time consuming, according to Randy Smith, UDOT Region Two Right of Way Manager. “It took about twelve hours per each request and up to 3 days to answer each question,” says Smith, because several data bases needed to be thoroughly searched.
Smith worked with UDOT Central Right of Way, UDOT Central GIS, and a team to develop a GIS tool as part of his course work for the Utah Certified Public Manager program offered to state employees.
Searching more easily
Much of the ROW data UDOT maintains is in ProjectWise, an online document storage system. Smith’s team built links that connects the map to ProjectWise documents. “The Arc Map has hyperlinks to ProjectWise and the original source data,” says Smith. Now finding answers takes minutes as opposed to hours or even days.
Called the Right of Way GIS Tool, the new process offers many advantages. It’s a “once-and-done” solution explains Smith, since inquiries are kept in the system to eliminate duplication of effort.
Smith’s team performed a cost-benefit on the system that’s quite impressive. Paying an employee to respond to an inquiry was determined to be $550 per request. UDOT Region Right of Way Two alone gets an average of 350 requests a year. The savings offered by the tool is a whopping $160,000 each year. “It’s an opportunity cost savings,” explains Smith, since employees are now freed up to work, to problem solve or improve processes.
The tool is only available to UDOT right now, but a tool for the public will be released in the near future. Smith suspects that the volume of questions may go down once people can find information on their own.
Other groups with information stored in ProjectWise may benefit as well. “While we developed this tool specific to right-of-way, we found that the environment is applicable to other disciplines,” Smith says.
For more stories about GIS Tools, see:
Visit the UDOT Data Portal, a one stop shop for maps, apps and data.