Changing DMV

August 2016

Two perspectives on how the DMV is transforming with the times


iStock 000005913775Medium 1Keeping up with Change

Over the past decade, the transportation community has seen several changes, especially in the arena of motor vehicle administration. Some changes, such as the legalization of marijuana use for medical and recreational purposes, only affected certain jurisdictions and had little impact on the entire motor vehicle community. Other changes, such as Real ID and autonomous vehicles, have had a much greater impact on the entire motor vehicle administration community. Motor vehicle administrators have been forced to change their business models in order to keep up with these changes. Public expectations of faster, more efficient customer service also have resulted in the need for changes in the business models of DMVs across North America. The New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division is no exception to the need for change. Over the last five years, New Mexico has made great strides to improve the quality and efficiency in the services we provide.

One major improvement in New Mexico’s business model is the re-modernization of our operating system. We transitioned from a legacy database system, which included two separate systems for vehicles and drivers, to a new customer-centric COTS system. In May of 2015, we implemented the first phase, which included our Driver Services, and we are on schedule to implement the second phase, Vehicle Services, in September of this year. The new system allows for a more fluid and expedient processing of customer transactions and has helped to reduce the wait time of each transaction by an average of five minutes.

Over the past four years, the New Mexico MVD has been able to reduce its statewide average wait time from approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes to just 11 minutes. This has been done through technological advances and through a series of process improvements using LEAN Six Sigma and the Malcolm Baldridge Criteria. Modeling and operating the New Mexico MVD as a retail venue has allowed us to explore many customer service delivery options not typically offered in traditional government agencies.

New Mexico has implemented several options for customers to conduct business with our Motor Vehicle Division without needing to visit a field office. Our customers now can complete a variety of transactions via our online web service, such as vehicle registration renewal, driver’s license renewal, citation payments, driver’s records and address changes. Customers also can complete these same transactions using our Interactive Voice Response (IVR) telephone system. New Mexico MVD also has implemented a mobile unit to reach those rural areas of the state that have no MVD presence. This keeps customers from driving long distances to get service.

As society, populations and technology change, motor vehicle administrators must be able to adapt and be flexible to keep up with that change. With advancements in IT technology, DMVs across North America must harness the capabilities of those advancements and take full advantage to better serve their customers. But most importantly, DMV leadership teams must be able to adapt to the changes within their own organizations to better serve their employees. After all, the employees are what keep us moving forward. 

iStock 000005913775Medium 2Revamped Services in Texas

Yesterday’s DMV doesn’t cut it anymore. Doing things the way you’ve always done them is a surefire way to alienate customers and validate old stereotypes about “the DMV.” The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) is keenly aware of the changing role in our industry.

One of the most important things to remember is the critical role the DMV plays in serving our customers. People want to do business when and how it’s most convenient for them. The days of expecting everyone to wait in line during business hours are over.

At TxDMV, we’ve taken major steps to change our role with an unwavering focus on serving our customers. Adding and enhancing online service delivery options is something we know the public expects and deserves in one of the fastest-growing states in the nation.

Texas has the second-largest number of registered vehicles. So we’re implementing new strategies to encourage and incentivize the use of online renewal, which is more convenient for customers and more efficient to process.

TxDMV has added the online issuance of temporary permits for vehicles subject to Texas registration laws but not authorized to travel due to lack of registration or reciprocity with the state where the vehicle is registered.

Just a few years ago, motor carriers needing oversize/overweight permits in Texas endured a sometimes lengthy phone, fax or mail-in process to obtain their permits. So we introduced a new online self-permitting process known as the Texas Permitting & Routing Optimization System (TxPROS). In the busiest trucking state in the United States, TxDMV must help keep big rigs, and our economy, moving 24/7. 

In 2013, TxDMV became the first state in the country to begin a paperless vehicle title system, streamlining business processes for auto dealers and counties, and helping to protect Texans from fraud.

TxDMV once had a voluminous backlog of auto dealer license applications waiting to be processed until we revamped our licensing operations and dramatically reduced the time it takes to get a license. Further efficiencies will be gained with the launch of a new self-service electronic licensing system in late 2016 to replace our paper-based process.

These efforts are consistent with TxDMV’s goal to continue to simplify and automate motor vehicle services for our citizens. The role of the DMV is always changing and evolving. As an industry, we must meet these challenges by being customer-focused and performance-driven.