A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

NJ DOT Could Learn From Its Virginia Counterpart

The State of Virginia has a very innovative Department of Transportation. Above is a picture of their DOT Dashboard, which provides its citizens with an at-a-glance online status report on issues related to getting around in their state. One can learn about the quality of road surfaces, the current level of road congestion, number of traffic deaths to date, and what percentage of budgeted funds have  been spent for state roads to date. They even reveal how well they're performing, according to surveys. Are they building and repairing the roads on schedule? Are citizen queries handled satisfactorily? How is DOT management doing overall?

The NJ DOT website relies on pull-down menus and lots of data that are surely useful to non-profit organizations looking to study good governance but are strictly beyond the capabilities of the average citizen to wade through and find the answer he/she needs. The data you have to wade through can be blindingly complex. For example, did you know that Project T515 says 8.5% of casino tax revenues go to facilitate public transportation of the elderly and disabled? And those funds are divided up among three managing authorities that give 85% of their monies to NJ Transit to provide para-transit services according to a distribution plan based on each county's relative population of persons over 60 years of age as provided by the US Census? I'm not quite sure what happens to the other 15%, but I go on. That is just one half of one page of the FY 2011 Transportation Capital Program's NJ Transit Projects document, which I found informative if daunting. It comes with its own glossary to help you follow along. Too bad it doesn't point you to the answer to your original question.

NJ DOT could take a lesson from Virginia in customer focus.


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