Georgia turns to Carbyne to enhance location information for statewide transportation system
Georgia Department of Transportation (Georgia DOT) has awarded Carbyne a five-year statewide contract after the company’s c-Live Universe reduced the time to locate motorists needing help by more than 85% during a three-month pilot program, according to Georgia DOT and Carbyne officials.
Matt Glasser, an assistant state traffic engineer for the Georgia DOT, said c-Live Universe lets dispatchers send a link to a motorist seeking by calling the state’s 511 system to get help. The Carbyne platform quickly provides accurate location information, instead of relying on the motorist’s knowledge or requiring video or vehicle-detection data to be reviewed.
Dispatchers using Carbyne—better known for being a cloud-based 911 call-taking platform—during the pilot were able to get accurate locations for motorists seeking help in an average of 3 minutes, compared to the 23-minute average time via the legacy method. Saving this 20 minutes makes the motorist calling 511 for help happier, eases stress for dispatchers, and allows service safety patrols to respond more quickly, Glasser said.
“I would identify this as a disruptor technology—this is going to change the way that we do business,” Glasser said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “I would suspect that, as more transportation agencies see the success, they’ll probably be changing their policies, as well.
“The way that many DOTs work in dispatching their safety service patrol is that they want to know for a fact that there’s someone at the location they’re being sent to—they don’t want to send their folks on a wild goose chase. They do that through an expensive investment in intelligent transportation—physical infrastructure.”
In addition to being expensive, Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) infrastructure—dynamic signage, vehicle-detection systems, CCTV video-surveillance cameras, etc.—can take years to deploy and requires a workforce to maintain the equipment, Glasser said. In contrast, Carbyne’s software-based c-Live Universe service can be operational virtually statewide in a matter of months and maintenance does not strain the state’s limited resources, he said.
“As we continue this march into the 21st Century, we’re finding that these infrastructure-less technologies are incredibly beneficial—they help us roll out statewide,” Glasser said. “They’re fractions of the cost of deploying your own infrastructure. And it helps you figure out your own workforce staffing and how you’re deploying people.”
“Previously, if I were to try to throw out vehicle detection every mile, I’m going to need a work force behind that to try to keep those detectors up. But when you’re talking about a cloud-hosted, server-based system, that maintenance responsibility changes substantially, which helps us be more responsive to folks and better utilize our staff.”
Employing Carbyne statewide could impact some of the state’s timetable regarding the rollout of ITS infrastructure, according to Glasser.
“As with any technology, are there limitations? Certainly,” he said. “But when we’re talking about being able to roll this out and being able to impact every Georgian quickly, that’s a big deal. It’s going to change the way that we do business and the way that we build our infrastructure, for sure.
Chad LaBree, Carbyne’s director of sales enablement, said the Georgia DOT pilot program included three stages of testing. An initial baseline test determined that using the legacy location techniques took an average of 23 minutes. In the second stage, dispatchers used the legacy procedures initially but employed the Carbyne technology as a backup, which also resulted in securing accurate locations in about 23 minutes.
In the third stage of the pilot, dispatchers used Carbyne as the initial location technology, and the results were “quite astonishing, LaBree said.
“Their average dispatch time was down to three minutes—they decreased their dispatch time by 20 minutes on all of their calls, on average,” LaBree said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications.
And that 20 minutes can have numerous significant impacts beyond simply help a motorist in need as quickly as possible, Glasser said.
“Every minute that you’re out there on the roadway—even if you’re on the shoulder—that’s a potential hazard. There’s a chance that people might be looking over and rubbernecking, and they might create a secondary incident. They might run into the back of your car, because they’re not paying attention.
“So, by getting people out there faster and help you faster, it’s reducing that chance—every minute—for a secondary collision. That’s a really, really big deal. This has a safety impact … So, while I love that it has a positive customer-service approach, it’s so much more than that. As Georgians, I think it’s going to have a positive impact on the safety of our roads and on the overall operation of our roads.”
Leveraging Carbyne’s solution also is helping dispatchers do their jobs more efficiently and proved to be very intuitive for dispatchers to use and to explain to the motorists they were helping, according to Glasser.
“When we switched to this, it was, ‘OK, we’re going to send you a text. If you’re OK with it, click the ‘Accept’ button, and it’s going to pinpoint your location,” he said. “We’re able to take that and drop it right in for our hero or our champion and just go.
“Even with it being a new process for our operators and without a lot of practice, we were able to drop those [dispatch-time] numbers very significantly. I think that’s a testament to how easy the product is to use for [dispatch] operators and how easy it is to use for stranded motorists, as well—you’re not asking them to jump through a whole lot of hoops.”
Given the era of heightened privacy and security concerns, Georgia DOT officials wondered whether some motorists would not be willing to click on link sent to them from a dispatcher, even with advanced verbal notification. But any such concerns proved to be a non-issue, Glasser said.
“That’s something else we asked [dispatcher participating in the pilot]: How many people turned you down?” Glasser said. “When we were going through this, the answer was none. They all said they [motorists] were happy to share this.”