dp-PRO Utility Industry Research

One Call Process Industry Survey Results

Recently, Infrastructure Resources, LLC conducted the first in a series of industry surveys. The responses to this survey represent a cross-section of various stakeholder groups. While some of the results support concepts that may be difficult to implement, they still provide a barometer by which to determine long-term goals.

Should the dig laws for all states/provinces be standardized?

Not surprisingly, 81.4% of respondents indicated that dig laws should be standardized, with 1.2% abstaining. It is interesting though, when broken down by industry, those respondents who identified as One Call were the least likely to support standardization with only 53.8% affirmative. Those identifying their job function as Middle Management were least likely to support standardization at 75.4%

Should the ticket delivery format used to inform a facility owner of an excavator’s intent to dig be standardized?

Again, the majority of respondents, 85.6%, indicated a desire for standardization, with One Call offering the lowest support at 61.5%. Field Operators strongly support standardization with a positive return of 93.8%.

Currently, many One Calls operate differently. Why do you believe that is?

Respondents were given a list of options to choose from, as well as the opportunity to provide a unique response. Overwhelmingly, respondents believe that specific state/provincial legislation is the biggest driver to One Call operations and locator requirements had the least impact. Regional or local culture came in as the 2nd highest driver, albeit about 40% less than the highest driver. Executive Directors who want to build their own solutions ranked #3, with utility requirements ranked at #4 and contractor requirements at #5. It is interesting to note that the regulatory and/or enforcement process was a common write-in ranking.

Should the information (ticket details, maps, facility records, etc.) provided by the utility company to its in-house locator or a contract locating company be standardized?

85.6% of respondents indicated they are in favor of standardization, with 1.9% abstaining, although the Water industry ran counter to other industries with 50% against standardization and 4.5% abstaining. Locators also seemed less inclined to support standardization, returning only 61.5% in favor. This result will likely be explored further in future surveys.

Consider the One Call system you use most frequently. When submitting a ticket request, how easy is it to…

Users found obtaining system information to be the most difficult part of submitting a ticket request, with 28.7% rating it as Very Difficult. More than half (56.3%) of the Executives who responded indicated that obtaining system information is difficult, and 37.5% found it difficult to receive updates as well.

What do you consider important on a ticket request?

The top three responses for important ticket information include Contact Name/Phone (99%), Start Date (96%), and Street Address (95%). The top three responses for information on a ticket that is not important and should be optional include Depth (16%), End Date (13%), and Electronic Whiteline Info (10%).

What makes a One Call Center easy to work with?

An easy-to-remember nationwide phone number was the number one response at 23%. Other responses all ranged between 14%-17%.

What makes a One Call Center difficult to work with?

The number one difficulty at 20% was the use of written dig area descriptions instead of showing accurately on visual maps. Number two at 19% was different laws in different regions, tolerance zones, notifications, etc.

How long should a dig ticket be valid?

Almost half of respondents (45%) believe a dig ticket should only be valid for 8-14 days. 16% felt 15-28 days was appropriate and 24% thought 30 days was the right number. This breakdown varied only slightly by industry, job function or country.

What is the appropriate wait time for a ticket?

At 78%, 2-3 days was overwhelmingly indicated as the appropriate wait time for a dig ticket. There may be some opportunity for education within the industry as some respondents indicated the wait time should only be minutes while others indicated up to a month was appropriate.

What is the right tolerance zone for locating assets?

18”-24” received the highest score at 64%, with the next highest score (25”-60”) coming in at 18%. Again, educational opportunities exist as multiple respondents indicated tolerance zones between 25-200 feet. A small percentage of respondents indicated they were unfamiliar with a tolerance zone.

Which stakeholder groups (if any) should be exempt from receiving notifications?

95% of respondents said there should be no exemptions. Those exemptions which were indicated include property owner, storm water/drainage, design, EAPUOC and emergency services.

Which stakeholder groups (if any) should be exempt from providing notifications?

96% of respondents said there should be no exemptions. Those exemptions which were indicated include county road grading, duplicates, emergency services and homeowners.

Infrastructure Resources Initiative IR is dedicated to helping the industry save lives through education. Look for this icon identifying articles on programs and initiatives created by IR to help us meet this goal.


Data from this survey, along with additional reporting, will be made available on the dp-PRO website.

The more people who participate in this survey, the more accurately the results will reflect the industry and the more insightful the analysis will be. Therefore, this survey will remain live on the dp-PRO website for one year as Infrastructure Resources continues to gather and analyze the results. Visit dp-PRO.com/surveys to complete this or other available surveys.

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