Now that more than 50 percent of Americans are toting smartphones, why shouldn’t they be put to good use? The 10 cities listed below have deployed 311 iPhone apps that are cutting costs and speeding up response times to potholes, graffiti and glitchy traffic lights. Cities can process huge quantities of reports very quickly. For perspective, the city of Riverside, Calif., gets more than 33,000 311 reports each month from its 310,000 citizens. More importantly, the quality of the reports is very high because citizens can easily snap photos of the problem and pinpoint the location with GPS.
Riverside’s app has been extremely popular since its launch, and according to CIO Steve Reneker, it’s growing quickly:
Reneker says 10 percent to 15 percent of Riverside's 311 reports are now generated via the mobile app, a number that's growing by about 30 percent per month. He says it's already had a positive effect on graffiti, which the city is required to clean up within 24 hours of notification. Using the mobile app, citizens can capture images of graffiti tags, which are stored in a police database and matched to other graffiti by the same artist.
People who might not have bothered to call in or visit the city's website to report graffiti are more likely to do it with the mobile app, he says.
All of these apps are free, and we encourage you to download a few to explore their functionality.
An average of 3.5 stars for the first 200 reviews in the App Store is nothing to scoff at. One reviewer writes, “The app is great. The response time is impressive. I made a report for a pothole and it was fixed the next day!”
The description in the App Store says it all: “Engaging the citizenry in the daily administration of government will lead to more efficient allocations of tax dollars, increase transparency and increase trust in Chicago government.”
In addition to submitting 311 reports, Columbus citizens can access park and trail maps, get tips on healthy local eats and stay up to date with area news.
This highly useful app is powered by civic engagement platform CitySourced, which also makes Android, Windows and BlackBerry apps.
Considering NYC has 8 million residents and is one of the most tech-friendly cities in the world, they had to have a way to streamline their city services. A push from Mayor Bloomberg has the city working harder than ever to make this app useful to both the city and the citizens.
Reviewers love the simplicity of this app: “This app is fantastic. Very easy to use and even though I didn’t expect anything to happen, within about, graffiti was gone!! I will use this a lot sooner next time. I have been looking at that ugly graffiti for over a month and poof! Gone so easily. Thank you, to the people who did the work!! ” What better compliment could you ask for?
Running on the popular CitySourced platform, San Diego’s 311 app provides direct access to the city government.
This is another app powered by CitySourced, but considering some of the most innovative technology in the world is coming from the Bay Area, we expected something groundbreaking.
This sleek app has all of the standard 311 features and works great on both the iPad and the iPhone.
There are many states, cities and counties deploying mobile apps for residents. If there are apps you use, let us know in the Comments section.