Addressing Accuracy

Nevada's DMV implements address validation software that feeds other state databases

LOCATION SPECIFIC: 'Knowing that we're a critical database, it's incumbent upon us to ensure that our records are correct,' said Ginny Lewis, Director at the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.

R. Marsh Starks

The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles in February implemented a new address validation software application that guarantees the accuracy of addresses entered into its database.

Address accuracy is critical for Nevada's DMV because the lack of a state income tax means the DMV database is the most complete repository of information on Nevada adults.

Other state agencies, including law enforcement and the secretary of state's office, use the DMV address information to communicate with residents about matters such as voter registration and jury duty.

'The DMV is really the only database that captures most of the adults in the state,' said Ginny Lewis, director at the Nevada DMV. 'Knowing that we're a critical database, it's incumbent upon us to ensure that our records are correct.'

Lewis said the software also improves DMV's customer service operations. 'We thought it would be a time-saver when we were entering information from a customer, but as we looked beyond that, we started to see that it was more like a customer service tool.'

The software solution is called Quick Address Pro from QAS. It works by comparing addresses to official postal records, and it identifies and fixes errors before the information enters the database.

The software, along with a proprietary reference table containing every address in America, sits locally on the Nevada DMV's servers. When a DMV employee starts to enter an address, Quick Address Pro pops up, and the employee can look up the address in the application.

The software prompts users with address information much the same way many e-mail address books return a contact's name after you enter the first few letters. For example, if a customer lives on Mt. Vernon Street, the DMV employee can simply enter 'Mt.' and all the streets in that Zip code beginning with 'Mt.' will appear. When the correct information is presented, the employee hits the Enter key to add that address to DMV's system.

Lewis said that by using the software, 'we can be more interactive with the customer. They don't have to give us their whole address. We can say, 'OK, you're at such and such street. We've got it.' '

Early adoption

Nevada's growing population makes faster customer service a higher priority.
'Nevada has a bigger problem than some other states,' said Joel Curry, chief operating officer at QAS. 'The volume of new residents Nevada is facing makes it more motivated than other states and therefore more of an early adopter. There are more people queuing up for a driver's license in Nevada than you may get in a state with a more static population.'

Curry said the large volume of information also increases the possibility of human error. 'Whenever you have a large database like that, you're going to make errors with it. There are a number of transcription errors that are fairly common. For example, sometimes people fail to mention apartment numbers or street directionals,' such as the South in South Main Street.

The software solves this problem by prompting users with the available choices.
Users 'can look up the address within our application, which commonly reduces the number of keystrokes from 30 or 40 down to about 11,' Curry said. 'You get accuracy by the fact that they get the address directly off the postal records rather than typing in what they think the customer says. Our product populates the DMV database with the information in the preset, standardized format, and they never have to type another address into the database.'

Illinois and Vermont are also planning to implement Quick Address Pro to validate addresses captured during driver's license, registration and titling processes, and a number of other DMVs are interested in purchasing the system this year, Curry said.

The benefits to Nevada have been pretty clear. 'The integrity of our records is improved because of this software,' Lewis said.

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