Massachusetts’s RMV system derailed

Massachusetts’s RMV modernization derailed

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) recently hit a wall with the revamping of its legacy license and registration system.

In late 2012, the agency announced a $76.8 million contract with Deloitte to modernize its 1980s-era Automated Licensing and Registration System (ALARS), which was straining under the burden of handling the agency’s 7 million transactions a day. The upgrade also sought to improve customer service and easily adapt to new administrative, legislative and regulatory changes.

All that changed on July 10, when interim head of the RMV Erin Deveney emailed employees announcing that the contract would be terminated because it was “not in alignment with the goals of the [Gov. Charlie] Baker administration.” According to an article in the Boston Globe, there no plans to abandon the system modernization, but no new work on the project is scheduled, and the administration will soon begin an “orderly transition plan,” Deveney wrote.

The system was intended for deployment by late 2017, with the Commonwealth planning to spend about $160 million on the new software. So far,  about $60 million had been spent, according to the Boston Globe.

The new system would have integrated the Commonwealth’s license and vehicle registration database, yielding an estimated annual savings of more than $19 million. Features would have included staff evaluations and branch performances, reliable information regarding revenue collection and distribution, improved interface and information sharing capabilities with law enforcement, and more services provided by the agency’s vehicle sales and insurance industry partners.

For citizens, the advancements would have lessened the time they spent in line or on the phone with RVM representatives, by making customer registry profiles and records easily accessible  online.

However, RMV may want to consider adding enhanced cybersecurity to the list, because a recent audit found vulnerabilities that put the system at increased risk for identity fraud, according to the Boston Herald.

An editorial in that paper called the agency’s systems as “glitch-prone” and just “limping along,” saying the RMV’s current license and registration system is susceptible to theft, making all licensed drivers’ personal data in the state also susceptible in the case of a cyber breach.

In the meantime, plans to upgrade ALARS are still in the works and are a part of the 2016 spending plan, the Globe reported, and efforts to improve online customer and kiosk services are in place.

About the Author

Amanda Ziadeh is a former reporter/producer for GCN.

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