Over the past years I have informed readers of the efforts in state government to use technology to services easily accessible and more convenient. These efforts have been in place for several years and we are now able to measure the impact of the reforms by looking at usage rates.
A few years ago, as the government modernization effort commenced, we researched the Texas web portal and their online government service. It highlighted the availability of online motor vehicle tag renewal. Of course, I couldn't help but think, "If Texans have the right to renew their car tag online, so should Oklahomans!"
Soon thereafter, as we advanced a provision to put government services online, we very specifically spelled out the requirement for Oklahoma government to offer this same convenience.
Following the successful passage of the bill, the state's web developers went to work and produced the site cars.ok.gov through which you may renew your vehicle's registration.
How many Oklahomans took advantage of this new feature, you ask?
In 2011 the system processed 62,704 transactions with $4.8 million of accompanying revenue.
In 2013 that volume had grown to 100,938 transactions and $7.6 million in revenue.
By 2015 the system grossed 133,932 transactions with just over $10 million in incoming revenue.
A couple of years later, the state looked to this same type of convenience to mitigate what may have been the single most frustrating inconvenience of state government: getting a driver’s license.
Oklahomans had become accustomed to getting up early in the morning and reserving a place in line outside their favorite Department of Public Safety testing center. Even after waiting in line for hours, they still risked not being able to take the driver's test. This untenable situation needed to be fixed.
Our Government Modernization committee held a hearing to highlight the Department's efforts to fix the issue.
Their answer: the Department of Public Safety's new inline-online system allows individuals to reserve their spot for both tests, written and driving. Using this system, you may schedule a time for your test, walk into the testing center and access the test with little to no waiting time.
In 2013, the DPS inline-online process handled 48,384 transactions.
By 2015 that number had risen to 71,641.
The system works! Oklahomans no longer appear experience the long lines outside of DPS testing facilities, and the newspapers have to report on other stories.
The significant growth of these numbers show us that Oklahomans will take advantage of new conveniences, provided that government is willing to make them available.
As Chairman of the Government Modernization committee, I look forward to highlighting these types of success during the upcoming legislative session, and advancing opportunities for more.