Texas launches mobile app for government services
Written by Benjamin Freed
The Texas Department of Information Resources announced on Monday the launch of a new mobile application designed to allow state residents to access a variety of government agency services through a single point of access.
the Texas app by Texas, or TxT, has been in the works since 2018 and previously existed as a mobile-friendly website launched last October, officials said. The app gives Texans the ability to transact with multiple different state agencies using a single account, moving away from a time when each individual agency ran its own online services and saved users from having to remember multiple passwords.
“It’s no different than the accounts we have in our lives for other everyday services — music streaming, grocery orders, delivery apps,” said Texas chief information officer Amanda Crawford.
So far, only three agencies have added services to TxT: the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, which offers vehicle registration renewals; the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, for driver’s license and state identification renewals; and the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, for the renewal of professional licenses. The latter service is limited to massage therapists and massage therapy instructors so far, though Crawford said she expects other professions to be added soon.
Work on TxT dates back to 2018, when the licensing department was the first agency to commit to DIR’s digital services project. Online massage license renewals were first offered in September 2019, though the addition of public safety and the DMV is expected to boost TxT’s audience.
“These are key tenants in any application,” Crawford said. “There are a large number of transactions.”
As well as giving Texans a single interface for a range of services, the app – which launched on Apple iOS, with an Android version to follow – can send push notifications reminding users if their car licenses or registrations are due. be updated. Crawford said she encountered this firsthand when, shortly after downloading the app, she informed her that the two vehicles she owns were up for renewal in February.
Since launching the TxT website last October, the service has attracted more than 450,000 users, a figure Crawford expects to grow rapidly with the mobile app. (She added that far more traffic is for driver’s license and vehicle registration renewals than for massage therapists.) She also said more agencies should add their services, though she declined to name which I do not want to frighten them.
By launching the app, Texas joins other states that have focused government transactions on a single mobile service, including Colorado, Kansas and Tennessee. And while Crawford acknowledged the digital government explosion of the pandemic, she said TxT was not meant to turn people away from in-person visiting agencies.
“We know for the people of Texas, that’s still important,” she said. “But we know there are also people in rural communities and urban communities who would love not to.”
Texas by Texas was built by consulting firm Deloitte, which operates Texas.gov for DIR. While Texas’ overall IT governance is federated, paid services have long operated through Texas.gov, Crawford said. But the new app, while meant to give users a “unified feel”, allows each agency to retain its own brand image.
“When you click on the DMV, you will always have the DMV mark,” she said.