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VDOT Offering Licensing Agreements

May 19, 2004

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has found an innovative way to generate revenue to put money back into its transportation programs. For the first time ever, VDOT is entering into software licensing agreements with other state transportation agencies, and those agencies are willing to pay for that agreement.

The agency is selling rights to use and adapt the source code for its Right of Way and Utilities Management System (RUMS) that gives right of way managers at-a-glance status of a highway project, including key deadlines to ensure right of way and utilities activities are completed on schedule. RUMS has garnered attention from around the country because of its extensive capabilities.

Most of the states around the country are looking for a system like this,” said Les Griggs, the Right of Way program manager who manages RUMS. “Virginia has a system unlike any other.”

VDOT is selling the rights for $250,000 – 10 percent of its cost to develop the system with a contractor. The Minnesota Department of Transportation is the first state to enter into the licensing agreement with VDOT.

“This will change the way that all government agencies look at intellectual property,” Griggs said. “Selling licensing agreements to a software system is a new practice for a state agency.”

VDOT’s Right of Way and Utilities staff members are responsible for the appraisal and acquisition of property rights necessary for the construction and improvement of state roads, adjustment of affected utilities, and the relocation of displaced homes and businesses.

RUMS was developed because no suitable software system was available for the staff to use or to modify to meet its needs. In addition to giving managers the projects’ status and deadlines, RUMS also:

“With this software program, there is no way for a project to fall through the cracks and miss an advertisement date,” Griggs said. “It’s so important to hit all the deadlines because that affects whether a project is completed on time and on budget or not.”

Several states are reviewing the system now. “We have the potential to sell this to almost all other state transportation agencies as well as to local government,” Griggs said. Already, VDOT’s Environmental Division is using RUMS to track asbestos removal in buildings.

Other agencies that opt to sign a licensing agreement with VDOT will then want to integrate RUMS into their own system – a procedure that will still require modifications, and possibly the services of a software development company. McLean, Va.-based BearingPoint Inc.helped VDOT develop RUMS. Minnesota also recently selected BearingPoint in a competitive bid process for its systems integration work related to RUMS.

“They will have the engine to start with, but they’ll still have to build their own car,” Griggs said. “Our system has been years in the planning and development.”

For now, the RUMS software is available to VDOT employees on a secure Intranet. Soon, it will be available as a protected Web-based system on the Internet so that Right of Way agents can access it from anywhere.

Unlike the Dashboard, VDOT’s online project management tool, RUMS will not be available for viewing by the general public because of the confidentiality of right of way acquisitions.

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