June 10, 2021

Department of Transportation Wins National Technology Award for Customer Service

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) has received a technology award from the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) in the category of Customer Service.

The Computing Technology Industry Association is a leading voice and advocate for the estimated 75 million industry and tech professionals. Through education, training, certifications, and market research, CompTIA promotes industry growth and encourages opportunities and benefits made possible through technology.

With the onset of the COVID-19 health crisis, MCDOT’s Sidewalk Program was immediately faced with the seemingly insurmountable problem of how to advance important infrastructure projects while meeting the requirements of a public hearing and community testimony with social distancing requirements in place. When the health crisis threatened to delay those projects, MCDOT turned to technology to meet requirements and keep projects on track. Those efforts earned recognition from CompTIA.

“MCDOT employees have been actively supporting the public throughout the COVID-19 pandemic from free bus service, including vaccination transportation, to virtual hearings,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “This nationally recognized program exemplifies the amazing job MCDOT employees are doing to advance services for Montgomery County residents.”

The public hearings were previously held in elementary schools local to the community in which sidewalks were proposed. Transitioning to virtual hearings presented new challenges, particularly concerning sound output and the sharing of complex project information and detailed displays.

On April 22, 2020, the Sidewalk Program within the Division of Transportation Engineering held its first virtual public hearing via Adobe Connect. Residents of all levels of technical experience were able to log or call into the platform using their computer, cellular, or landline telephone.

The virtual public hearing provided the same full-service experience as the live, in-person hearings, sharing detailed GIS mapping displays, making exhibits available for download, posting detailed contact information and pertinent upcoming dates, all while answering questions and receiving testimony.

Attended by 37 residents, the program's first virtual public hearing was a resounding success. Twelve successful virtual public hearings followed.

“These virtual public hearings have kept our County moving forward during a difficult time,” said Director Conklin. “The program provided cost savings, increased participation, and prevented unnecessary travel.”