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Case Study

Dufferin County Public Works

Due to the reduction in time spent on processing applications, and improved internal and external communications, Permit Central from Transnomis is a highly recommended solution for road authorities with inefficient processes for handling road right-of-way permits.

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Background

In Ontario, when any company or individual wants to transport a load larger in weight or size than the limits set out in the Highway Transportation Act, that transporter requires an oversize load permit from each authority with roads the load will be transported on.

The process for obtaining an oversize load permit from the Dufferin County Public Works consisted of providing information on the applicant, the carrier, the size and dimensions of the load, and proof of Commercial General Liability insurance, as well as proof of other MTO permits related to the load.


The Problem

Prior to 2021, the Dufferin County Public Works had no quick solution for the common process of processing the many oversized load permits that transportation companies needed. Originally, the office handled all permit applications with a purely analog (paper-based) process. Later, the team switched to using a Microsoft Access database, which solved some (but not all) of the issues while still requiring paper copies for some processes.

Permit applicants could submit data for permit applications in various ways: mail, fax, and online, but applications were often submitted incorrectly the first time. Seeking further details and receiving them created a significant amount of administrative work for the permit processors. The office was required to maintain records of the applications in binders for future reference. Eventually, the binders became so numerous that they had to find extra storage for them.

Beverly Frank, the office coordinator, and Scott Martin, the Manager of Operations, would then review the permits against other permits, construction zones, and so on — some (but not all) of which were posted in Municipal511. This required significant knowledge of local road conditions and construction.

Additionally, communication between various municipal offices in charge of administering permits presented a challenge. The Dufferin County Public Works department also processes permit applications for roads shared with Simcoe, Grey and Wellington counties, requiring emails and permit forwarding.

During the annual oversize load permit application season of Nov. - Feb., the department was spending every morning solely on processing annual oversize permits, a time cost of at least 400 hours. This left the department overloaded with work, leaving them less time for other necessary activities within the department.

The Dufferin County Public Works department required a system to reduce the storage space needed for permits, make the application process more efficient, and that allowed for better collaboration and sharing of information.

Solution

Several different solutions were considered over the years to digitize or streamline these processes, but Dufferin County Public Works ultimately chose to subscribe to the Transnomis Municipal511 Permit solution, now known as Permit Central.

As the department was previously paper-based, the ability to store and track application data through cloud-based software was transformative, eliminating not only the need for storage space, but also the process of finding and updating the permits as new information came in. The employees working on permits could:

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Monitor applications from one dashboard without having to check the mail, fax, or constantly monitor email threads in Outlook to find updated permit information.

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Filter applications by status, saving time on finding and updating applications. Monitor activities and pending tasks of other users in the office helped speed up operations.

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Create email templates and alter them as needed. For example, if the commercial General Liability Insurance of the transporter was about to expire, they could be sent an automatic notification.

Impact

  • More efficient communications with customers and stakeholders, using automated notifications automatically logged against each permit.
  • Fewer incomplete and error filled applications, and much faster minor amendments.
  • Digital reassignment of permits, with all changes and correspondence logged against the application.
  • Applicants could quickly access current and past permit applications, identify applications that needed their attention, make minor amendments, etc. saving them time as well.
  • The change in efficiency in the department was striking when comparing the Fall of 2020 with 2021, as the solution went online in August 2021.
  • The flow of documents between municipalities was improved.

Next Steps

The next upgrade Dufferin County Public Works intends to implement is Transnomis’s online payment functionality in Permit Central, allowing them to safely and efficiently collect payments from applicants. Reconciling payments with specific permit applications will be a thing of the past, saving even more time.

Conclusion

Due to the reduction in time spent on processing applications, and improved internal and external communications, Permit Central from Transnomis is a highly recommended solution for road authorities with inefficient processes for handling road right-of-way permits.