Colorado shuts down registration system because of unreliable data

The cost of inconsistent data is becoming clear for some states.
Colorado halted its use of a new $13 million vehicle registration software program earlier this year because of data reliability problems.

In addition to modernizing some back-office operations, the Colorado State Titling and Registration System (CSTARS) should have made routine traffic stops easier to resolve by sending motorist information to patrol officers checking registration data. However, the system began sending wrong files to the field, which in one case led police to impound a vehicle unnecessarily.

Programmers designed CSTARS to exchange data with an older registration system to keep records up-to-date.

But because the two systems stored data differently, they weren’t necessarily in sync, said Patrick Chase, CSTARS project manager.
The state is drafting a report to determine the business-process re-engineering that will be necessary to make CSTARS reliable.

“We don’t have data cleanup issues with the legacy system,” Chase said. “But when we move forward, we will have to monitor how well we do the data updates in a [CSTARS and legacy application] environment.”

About the Author

Alan Joch is a freelance writer based in New Hampshire.

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