TBT: The technology upgrades of yesteryear

TBT: The technology upgrades of yesteryear

March 7, 2019

By Angela DeWelles / ADOT Communications

Today we're throwing back to the late 1970s/early 1980s, when ADOT made some pretty major upgrades to our agency's phone systems.

Back in 1977, ADOT installed two brand new automatic-dial switchboards. According to the June 1977 issue of Newsbeat, ADOT’s employee newsletter of the day, the switchboards were used by Motor Vehicle Division employees to improve vehicle title and driver license services. Newsbeat also noted that the switchboards would reduce answering time, saving $2,500 a month compared to the old manual private branch exchange system. The photo at right was published in that issue of Newsbeat and shows ADOT employee Florence Daniels as she operates one of the new switchboards.

A few years later, ADOT took on an even bigger project – installing a new telephone communications system for all employees within the Phoenix Capitol complex.

According to an article in the February 1983 issue of Newsbeat, the agency was switching from the Bell Centrex Systems over to a new network, installed by the CENTEL Corp.


The upgrade included the installation of two types of phones for ADOT employees. A majority of the agency would receive “standard touch-tone equipment,” while executive offices would get an “electronic set capable of diverse functions.”

Those diverse functions included a call forwarding option, call waiting and a “speed call” button, which, according to Newsbeat, would “let the caller hold numbers frequently used in a memory bank … when the right button is pushed, calls will automatically go out to the number wanted.”

There was also a “ring again” feature that would allow the caller to simply hit a button when getting a busy signal (remember those?). The caller could then hang up and continue working. “Ring Again” would automatically process the call once the line cleared.

Related Tags