Massachusetts’ Automated License and Registration System (ALARS)

Published: January 15, 2013

Justice/Public Safety & Homeland SecurityTransportationDOT

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation  (MassDOT) recently made an award to Deloitte Consulting LLC for its automated license and registration system (ALARS) project. The contract will run for 63 months, and is valued at $76 million.
The project was initially thought to be a multi-phase project, split into the following:
·         Phase I - Update agency strategic plan
·         Phase IIA - Develop detailed business plan for ALARS modernization
·         Phase IIB - Develop detailed technical requirements for ALARS modernization
·         Phase III - Build application and technical infrastructure to support the plan
·         Phase IV - Implement solution
Phase I is already complete, and phase IIA was awarded to CGI in 2005. During phase IIA, CGI analyzed and documented the state of the business and determined the future of the system. A solicitation was released in 2011 for phase IIB, and the most recent award is related to that phase. Massachusetts decided not to release separate solicitations for phases III and IV, but rather roll them into phase IIB.
ALARS was implemented in Massachusetts in 1985, and has processed six million transactions daily and collected $1 billion in revenue annually. While the system provided breakthrough concepts, including an integrated license and registration system, the system is antiquated and needs an upgrade.
Massachusetts is following in the footsteps of other states updating their outdated systems from the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s. In 2010, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) made an award to Accenture for its CSI systems redesign project. The Citizen Services System (CSS) was developed in the 1980s, and its purpose was to transform outdated systems into one modernized system.
Wisconsin’s Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) recently redesigned its registration and titling system, which hadn’t been updated since the 1970s. The current contract is set to expire in 2015, but a new solicitation is expected to be released to rebid the contract.
More recently, Pennsylvania is looking to update its outdated integrated vehicle and driver’s license system (IVDLS). The state is expected to make an award soon for a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) solution for the apportioned registration business function of the IVDLS. Depending on the award, the state may release additional solicitations for other components of the IVDLS.
Analyst’s Take
Only 13 states have met the legal requirements necessary for a REAL ID program. Many states oppose the program and are still not compliant; they fear high costs  and the possible creation of a national database. Due to the cost burden, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has awarded more than $200 million in grants since 2008 regarding the programs. If the agency continues to award grant money, there may be an increase in states looking to improve their systems.
Lastly, historically, contracts related to these systems result in long durations (5+ years) and million-dollar contracts. Prospective vendors will benefit from financial stability winning these contracts because of the total awarded amount as well as services and fees associated with implementing the system.