Traffic Ticket Online Resolution: 29th District Court

This summary of traffic ticket online resultion is one of several case studies of what courts with Matterhorn traffic ticket and minor infraction resolution have achieved. For a study of six courts, see Ticket and Minor Infraction Resolution Outcomes—Six Courts.

29th District Court, City of Wayne, Michigan

Do More, With Less

Matterhorn gave us the ability to do more with less. The platform freed up our docket and gave us more time to process online cases and alleviate workload in certain areas. As opposed to dealing with citizens on the spot, our staff was able to work through online requests during time when the court was less busy.

—Linda Gable 29th District
Court Administrator

The Court Sought to Make Justice More Convenient

The City of Wayne, Michigan, home to about 17,500 people, is located in Southeastern Michigan. The 29th District Court is a small, single-judge court whose leadership is known for engagement and involvement with the Wayne community.

The goal for court leadership has been to increase the court’s flexibility: to make justice more convenient and accessible for Wayne residents and maintain an exceedingly high level of customer service. As in other communities, many residents struggle with required in-person court legal proceedings and finding child care and arranging leave from work.

At the Same Time, Budgets Were Tight

Meanwhile, the court’s budget is tight and staff are already stretched thin, with no budget for increased headcount.

A pressing challenge faced by the court was the recent reduction of court personnel combined with overtime from their traffic officers. Court leadership knew that this would further strain the court’s depleted resources, as citizens who wish to contest their tickets at a pre-informal hearing must be scheduled and added to the court’s docket.

In this age of Internet technology, court leadership knew that there must be a cost-effective way to simplify many of the court’s legal proceedings without having to hire additional staff resources. They did not have to look far to find an answer–in nearby Highland Park, Michigan, the 30th District Court had been successfully utilizing Court Innovations’ Matterhorn platform. Impressed by the results, they were eager to offer this convenient, web-based solution to Wayne’s public.

The Court Selected Online Dispute Resolution

Historically, ticket-holders in Wayne have had three options for ticket resolution:

  1. Pay the fine and have points added to their license.
  2. Deny responsibility and have a hearing before the judge. If found responsible, face the same consequences as in #1.
  3. Schedule a hearing to discuss possible reduction or elimination of points.

Linda Gable, 29th District Court Administrator, said citizens typically pursue the third option, hoping to avoid having points added to their license. Before Matterhorn, the third option was a time-consuming, resource-intensive process that involved scheduling and attending a pre-informal hearing during court hours. That might mean the case would not be heard for weeks.

Now, with the online system, citizens can request a review online, rather than schedule an in-person hearing. This allows the work to be spread throughout the day and reduces strain on their staff. Whether the ticket holder chooses the online route or the on-site route, the case outcome will be the same, as the court’s decision is most often based on prior driving record.

The 29th District Court team took several steps to promote citizen engagement with the platform:

  • An initial press release in the local newspaper
  • URLs printed on tickets
  • Online options highlighted on the court’s website
  • Information provided by court staff to citizens that phone in about ticket resolution

At the beginning of the launch, the court saw slow but steady numbers. But as citizens gained familiarity with the system and the number of citations grew in Wayne, the online system began to double its growth each month.

“Citizens were very excited about the convenience factor of the new system,” says Gable. “Not having to schedule a date with the court during business hours was a relief to many citizens who had difficulty taking time off of work or arranging transportation to the court.”

Gable also discovered that citizens were recommending the online option to fellow residents on a discussion group for the City of Wayne community Facebook page. Once the word got out, the court was seeing nearly 200 online requests monthly.

Traffic Ticket Online Resolution Results

Wayne Data

With Matterhorn, the percentage of in-person informal hearings decreased Year over Year (YOY): 

  • 30% between 2015 and 2016
  • another 37% between 2016 and 2017.

The court was able to offer increased capacity without adding personnel - in fact, strain on staff was reduced.

The court is happy with the results of the Matterhorn system in their community.

Not only is the court able to handle a heavier workload with the same staff, it’s also able to maintain excellent customer satisfaction. The court is saving time and resources while managing its dockets more efficiently, and, in the spirit of the court’s goals, it has been able to cost-effectively expand access, flexibility, and convenience for the citizens of Wayne.

What is Matterhorn?

Matterhorn is online dispute resolution.

Matterhorn gives the public their “day in court” from their own device and from anywhere. This access allows people to stay at home, at school, and at work.
Judges, magistrates, and court staff remain involved, yet spend less on these activities. Matterhorn allows courts to offer 24/7 service without 24/7 staff. It allows the police to stay on patrol. It increases customer satisfaction.

Matterhorn integrates with many CMS and payment systems. It is software-as-a-service.

Get these proven outcomes into your community.

Request your demo now!

Traffic and Warrant Resolution Results – 14A District Court

This summary showcases the traffic and warrant resolution results in Washtenaw County, MI, District Court 14A.

You may be interested in other traffic court results with Matterhorn. For a study of six courts, see Ticket and Minor Infraction Resolution Outcomes—Six Courts.

14A District Court, Washtenaw County, Michigan

Traffic Ticket resolution

A Win-Win-Win

It seems to be a win-win-win for all the participants.
Processes that used to take whole days now take only minutes.

—Bob Ciolek, 14A District
Court Administrator

The Court Sought to Simplify Scheduling and Expand Access

Prior to Matterhorn, the District 14A court invested time, energy, and labor to schedule and hold hearings for relatively minor offenses.

Then the court offered online traffic ticket and warrant resolution via Matterhorn. The four courthouses and six police agencies in the district found time and cost savings through expanding access to justice.

In 2013, the 14A District Court had a high volume of in-person mediations across its four courthouses. These mediations (equivalent to an “informal hearing” in similar district courts) were a significant burden on the court’s time and resources.

The Court Selected Online Dispute Resolution

The court recognized how online dispute resolution (ODR) increases transparency, consistency, and fairness. ODR also reduces any potential perception of bias based on physical appearance, race, class, or immigration status.

Additionally, the court was able to replicate yet simplify current processes online.

Traffic and Warrant Resolution Results

Washtenaw County has reduced their in-person mediations and formal hearings with Matterhorn online ticket and warrant resolution.

Before

3,122 informal hearings in 2013

An estimated 1-2 months to schedule and attend a hearing

An average of 45-60 minutes for a traffic violation informal hearing

After

1,320 cases reviewed online

$218,690 collected

In person hearings reduced by ~100 hearings/month across 6 dockets

Online cases close more quickly and close with less staff handling time. Additionally, 14A has been able to speed up revenue collection as a result of closing cases sooner.

Prior to Matterhorn, people would often schedule a formal hearing if they were unsatisfied with the outcome of their informal hearing. One important and unexpected result for the court is that fewer people now request formal hearings. Most people accept the court’s online decision, even when it is not in their favor.

Do the same work in

<20%

of the time.

Resolve cases

72%

faster

Get paid sooner

94%

paid in thirty days

Online cases close more quickly and close with less staff handling time. Additionally, 14A has been able to speed up revenue collection as a result of closing cases sooner.

Prior to Matterhorn, people would often schedule a formal hearing if they were unsatisfied with the outcome of their informal hearing. One important and unexpected result for the court is that fewer people now request formal hearings. Most people accept the court’s online decision, even when it is not in their favor.

The six police agencies in Washtenaw County benefit too. Officers go to court less often.

I have the benefit of logging in whenever I want from anywhere.
I don’t have to have to schedule a specific date and time to attend mediations.

Shawn Booth, Pittsfield Police Officer

Increase Public Access and Customer Satisfaction

Serve the missing

39%

The public also appreciates their benefits. Over 90% said they found the website easy-to-use and said they understood the status of their case throughout the online process.

Thirty-nine percent of people who used the system said they would otherwise not have been able to come to court. Through offering online ticket and warrant resolution with Matterhorn, District 14A has expanded access to justice by 64%.

“It was very easy to use especially seeing I was going out of town.”

“It did save me from missing a half-day of work, so that was good!”

“I haven’t been to court before and I wouldn't have known what to do, where to go, what to say...so it really took a lot of stress from me to do this online.”

What is Matterhorn?

Matterhorn is online dispute resolution.

Matterhorn gives the public their “day in court” from their own device and from anywhere. This access allows people to stay at home, at school, and at work.
Judges, magistrates, and court staff remain involved, yet spend less on these activities. Matterhorn allows courts to offer 24/7 service without 24/7 staff. It allows the police to stay on patrol. It increases customer satisfaction.

Matterhorn integrates with many CMS and payment systems. It is software-as-a-service.

Get these proven outcomes into your community.

Request your demo now!

Ticket and Minor Infraction Resolution Results: Multiple Courts

See improvements in your traffic and minor infraction resolution results with online adjudication and plea negotiation:

Half the schedule: your days to case closure cut to 50%
30 times fewer defaults: the proportion of cases that default is cut from 15% to 0.5%
80% less staff time: And while your case volume is rising slightly overall, your staff time spent on routine hearings and procedures is cut to 20% of what it was.

This could be your court.

Ticket and Minor Infraction Resolution Results

All Matterhorn solutions are rigorously evaluated against key court and performance metrics, including:

  • Public participation
  • Time and cost savings of courts
  • Case closure times
  • Time to payment
  • Default rates
  • Feedback from court personnel
  • Feedback from citizens

Analysis of these measures, both at the individual court level—as well as across the full spectrum of aggregated court data—reveals significant and positive outcomes for each of the metrics.

The outcomes below come from a study of six courts in Michigan who use Matterhorn online ticket and minor infraction resolution. Need more? See the results other courts have achieved.

Public Participation

Public participation in Matterhorn has consistently exceeded expectations in both rural and urban settings. The public has actively engaged in Matterhorn online dispute resolution from day one. This demonstrates that people are not only willing to use an online system to access the court, and in many cases, they may actually prefer to do so.

Increase Access

39%

Survey: 39% of people who used the system said they would not have been able to come to court in person.

Cases Close More Quickly

Times to case closure have been significantly reduced for courts using Matterhorn—from an average of 50 days before Matterhorn to just 14 days after implementation. But this reduction extends beyond the cases processed through the Matterhorn platform. On average, courts experience a reduction in time to close all cases, even for non-Matterhorn cases, from 50 days before launch to 34 days after.

-72%

Matterhorn decreases case closure times to an average of 14 days, compared with an average of 50 days pre-launch. That’s 72% faster time to closure.

Courts Save Time and Resources

Public participation online saves court resources.

With Matterhorn, court staff spend less time on administrative tasks and related hearing time for cases handled online. For example, Matterhorn has saved one court 130 minutes of combined staff time per hearing, cutting total time to 27 minutes from 157.

Most importantly, staff can focus on issues that need more of their attention.

Other parties benefit, too: law enforcement officers spend less time in court and more time in the community. Members of the public no longer need to take time off work, secure childcare, or find a way to get to court. That means time and cost savings for them too, and a leveling of access for people who have the hardest time getting to court.

Courts using Matterhorn also benefit from an increase in court capacity. Data reveal that as the number of cases “heard” online increases, the overall number of cases courts process rises as well. Furthermore, courts are able to handle these additional cases without increasing their staff.

Do the same work in

<20%

of the time.
Courts can handle these transactions more efficiently with Matterhorn: dropping staff time from an average of 157 minutes to only 27 per case.

Improve Time to Payment

In addition, time to payment has been substantially reduced for Matterhorn cases. Prior to Matterhorn, these courts had never approached 100% collection of fines. Using Matterhorn, on average courts collected 92% of fines in just 30 days—compared to only 51% before implementation. That's an 80% improvement.

And within 90 days, 99% of fines are collected through Matterhorn. With an ability-to-pay assessment included at the initiation of Matterhorn cases, citizens are able to begin a payment plan at the onset of their case and pay off their court obligations sooner.

92%

Cases handled on Matterhorn are paid more quickly. Only half of similar cases handled offline are paid in 30 days, compared to most Matterhorn cases. That’s an 80% improvement in the number of cases which pay in 30 days.

Fewer Defaults

Fewer than 2% of cases heard online through Matterhorn default, compared to rates ranging from 13 to 37% for cases that don’t go online. The system has a configurable ability-to-pay “smart” assessment that courts can use to evaluate and develop an optimal payment plan or alternative penalty—when needed.

2%

Matterhorn decreases defaults to an average of 2%, compared with 13-37% for non-Matterhorn cases.

Ticket and Minor Infraction Resolution Results: Feedback from Courts and Citizens

Court personnel and law enforcement have provided very positive feedback from the Matterhorn system. In addition, the public has been very positive about the Matterhorn experience. The user survey reveals that more than 90% of people found the website easy to use. And 92% indicated they fully understood the state of their case throughout the online process.

But perhaps the most important finding of the user survey is the evidence that Matterhorn is significantly increasing public access to the courts. Enabling access to justice and making the process easier for citizens is a fundamental goal for all courts. Matterhorn was designed to reduce the most common barriers to access. We're proud to be working with our court customers to do it!

(Appearing in court) would have been difficult, as I would have had to take a day off work to drive 2 1/2 hours to the courthouse to appear. For people with no additional vacation, limited funds, small children, resolution online without the further expense of travel and possible lost wages is a tremendous and fair option. More jurisdictions around the country should have this type of access.

A Matterhorn user

Summary of Ticket and Minor Infraction Resolution Results

Matterhorn online dispute resolution has produced positive and meaningful results for court customers across all key outcome measures. This points to both court personnel and the public benefitting from technology to produce a more positive and profitable result for the courts.

In addition, Matterhorn helps courts level the playing field – enabling them to engage the public, increase efficiencies, speed up case closure and collection - with lower default rates, all while improving satisfaction and access to justice—regardless of the court’s geographic location or resources. As part of our ongoing mission, Matterhorn will continue to measure outcomes and report these outcomes to customers and the public.

Traffic Court Results

Employ Matterhorn to improve your traffic court results.

With Matterhorn, the public can request dismissals, lesser charges, and reduction in penalties entirely online or partially online if appropriate. Relevant stakeholders from your agency or others review and decide the outcome. This process typically happens much more quickly online in terms of schedule and handling time for all.

Matterhorn modules include traffic infraction review, driving with license suspended resolution, parking citation resolution, and more.

Outcomes include:

Ready to see these outcomes in your court? Get in touch to schedule a demo!