The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) launched the Texas Permitting and Routing Optimization System (TxPROS) on August 30. The online permitting program provides real-time, GIS-based mapping for routes and road restrictions and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Before TxPROS, processing a routine permit could take hours, including wait time. The new system does the job in minutes. Trucking firms can apply for a permit, pay the fee and route shipments on roads suited to handle the size and weight, all online, anytime. The system will also generate a route map and turn-by-turn directions for drivers.

"It's about doing business better in Texas," said John Barton, interim TxDOT executive director. "TxPROS improves customer service and saves money. It's another step in the modernization of the agency and it reinforces our commitment to transparency and accountability."

TxDOT worked for four years with commercial motor carriers and agency district and division staff to develop the product. The software vendor is ProMiles Software Development Corporation.

About 80 percent of applications were already processed online with the old Central Permitting System (CPS), but permit specialists still had to manually handle those applications and route loads using paper maps with hand-written notations to keep up with district road and bridge restrictions. TxPROS replaces the manual work with automated permit processing that saves time and money and enhances safety through real-time routing capabilities.

Texas issues over 500,000 permits each year, more than any other state. Many of these loads require route-mapping to avoid construction sites or bridges that are too low or not designed to hold the weight.

The new system will definitely revolutionize oversize/overweight permitting in the state, said Carol Davis, TxDOT Motor Carrier Division director.

"Texas is the first in the nation to do this," she said. "It's not only a better system for customers, but, for the first time, TxDOT can track which roads are traveled the most by oversize/overweight loads-useful information when planning construction and maintenance projects."

TxPROS is at http://www.txdot.gov/txpros.

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