DOTslip Enables E-Ticketing
Management at C.W. Matthews, Marietta, Georgia, approached HaulHub Technologies, Boston, in late October 2019 with an idea. The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) had begun to include a new electronic ticketing spec in its job lettings that proved a bit problematic.
“We were in search of a program to increase our haul efficiencies as a company while minimizing the day to day paperwork currently required of field personnel,” said Lee Mims at C.W. Matthews. “During this process, the [Georgia] Department of Transportation announced their pilot projects with the e-ticket requirement.”
C.W. Matthews, already a customer of HaulHub Technologies’ trucking and transportation solutions, was hoping the company could develop a solution that would meet the new spec. The team at HaulHub liked the idea, and began developing its own e-ticketing app, DOTslip.
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“DOTslip allows for faster reconciliation of tickets for payment on projects, eliminates the need for costly antiquated hardware which transfers savings to the state, and creates a safer work environment by removing employees from hazardous areas necessary to transfer paper tickets,” Mims said. The platform is set up for near immediate reconciliation of tickets eliminating the time C.W. Matthews’ employees, as well as state employees, spend at the end of the month tracking down missing paperwork, he continued.
“This will be our pilot operation in regards to e-ticketing,” Mims said, adding that C.W. Matthews plans to provide feedback from its employees and DOT staff to HaulHub for continuous improvement of DOTslip. “I believe that a mix of simplicity, minimized user interaction, and data accuracy will make this a success.”
Meet Contractors’ Needs, DOT Demands
“We’ve seen a lot of DOTs putting out new requirements for e-ticketing,” said HaulHub Technologies Founder and CEO Joe Spinelli. “Construction companies, producers and the state asphalt associations had some input that would be useful to the process. That’s what we’re hoping to do with DOTslip: create a collaborative tool that meets the needs of all stakeholders.”
Spinelli said some e-ticketing solutions capture and share sensitive data–such as driver location data–that isn’t necessary for e-ticketing purposes. This not only raises privacy concerns, Spinelli said, but could also open up DOTs, producers and contractors to unnecessary risks.
“Data is powerful, but with that comes tremendous responsibility,” Spinelli said. “For example, if a DOT inspector sees that a truck is speeding and that truck gets in an accident, was that not the DOT’s responsibility to relay that message?”
“The goal of e-ticketing is to get rid of paper processes,” Spinelli said. “It doesn’t need GPS or telematics. It doesn’t need to be any more complicated than a digital ticket.”
DOTslip creates a digital replica of the paper ticket, based on data from the producer. “The e-ticket will have the same fields you’d see on a normal paper ticket–plant address, job site, job number, etc.,” Spinelli said.
DOTslip relies on producers backing up ticketing data to a cloud database, such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure. Spinelli said many producers, especially those with multiple plants, already back up ticket data on the cloud. For those that don’t, Spinelli estimates it’s possible to set it up in as little as a day or two.
Once the cloud backup of ticket data is complete, DOTslip can use this information to automatically create a digital recreation of a traditional paper ticket. “The producer owns the [cloud database account],” Spinelli said. “They control what data goes to the cloud and they give us permission to read the database live in the cloud.”
After this initial setup, the producer/contractor uses DOTslip to create a job and invite all stakeholders to join the job, similar to a private Facebook group. “Anyone who is a part of that job–the producer, the paving foreman, the DOT engineer–will be able to see that ticket immediately,” Spinelli said.
In addition to seeing the tickets on a live feed within DOTslip, users can have PDFs of every ticket sent to their email and review past tickets within the DOTslip app or web version.
“DOTslip also allows inspectors to sign slips within the mobile app,” Spinelli said, “so they can be wherever they need to be on the paving line, or even at another job they might be responsible for.”
DOTslip: The Road Ahead
Spinelli said DOTslip could one day be used as a pay record and as a resource for quality control personnel.
“I think we’ll eventually see quality control personnel wanting access to e-ticket information so they can make notes on the tickets as they’re taking temperature measurements and doing random sampling,” Spinelli said, adding that those notes would then be visible to all stakeholders.
Although DOTslip does integrate e-ticket data with HaulHub’s trucking and transportation solutions, DOTslip is a standalone app and does not require users to be customers of HaulHub’s other products.
For now, the main goal is to ensure DOTslip qualifies as an e-ticketing alternative. The Department of Transportation in Georgia, C.W. Matthews’ home state, approved the use of DOTslip in late February. HaulHub is currently in discussions with multiple DOTs across the country to get DOTslip approved in additional states.
HaulHub is currently seeking input from various DOTs to ensure DOTslip meets their goals. “This is not ‘us versus them’,” Spinelli said. “We wanted to offer an alternative solution which was collaborative in nature. The industry needs a simple e-ticketing solution, where truckers, producers, contractors and state agencies are comfortable, everyone needs to be on board or else the e-ticket initiative will continue to die on the vine.”
Already, four other Georgia-based companies have expressed interest in using DOTslip in the first quarter of 2020. Spinelli expects this number to grow as other states begin implementing new e-ticketing specs this year.
DOTslip is available in the Apple App Store, and via the web. Contact HaulHub for more information about launching a pilot program for full digital ticket integration.