The project team began to create a “language library” of all possible articles and clauses for an agreement. Each language point has been refined and the conditions for its inclusion in an agreement have been set. HotDocs models were created to control how and under what circumstances the language is merged into the resulting document. A full and logical interview was then conducted to quickly and easily guide users through the otherwise laborious process of creating the contract. Robinson also describes it: manually setting up cooperation agreements from hundreds of possible language options and deferring formal approval agreements are a tedious and time-consuming process. It usually takes hundreds of human hours and several weeks of schedule,” says Mark Robinson, Director of Development, Project Agreement Construction Tool (PACT). At a time of huge budget deficits and limited resources, Caltrans took the decision to streamline the production of cooperation agreements with HotDocs at the heart of the solution called Project Agreement Construction Tool (PACT). The user interview represents all the questions needed to create a legal contract and also offers the possibility of adding a custom language or modifying standard answers if necessary. When a user completes the interview, the system analyzes the responses provided and determines the status of the document.
If the answers are in the interview as part of the Caltrans policy and procedure, a user can establish a pre-approved agreement that can be printed and signed by all parties involved without further verification. Otherwise, the document will be transmitted through normal authorisation channels. The ability to generate pre-approved agreements with this HotDocs-based solution has saved a great deal of time and costs. In addition, Caltrans has much more control over the whole process. Robinson put it this way: “The result is a better document, customer satisfaction and a huge improvement in the production environment. We have also seen improvements in overall problem-solving and a reduction in the potential for legal challenges. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is responsible for funding, planning, building and maintaining more than 50,000 miles of national and national highways in the state of California. In 2008-09, Caltrans managed hundreds of nearly $4 billion in projects in coordination with some 400 local, government and federal partner agencies. In order to consult with partner agencies on the roles and responsibilities of each project, Caltrans establishes a contract called the Cooperation Agreement. On average, Caltrans generates about 450 of these agreements per year.