“See, Click, Fix”
Much like the program in Ontario, The City of Raleigh NC has created a website that allows citizens to report some of the common problems they encounter. The service in Raleigh has some of the same features discussed in the Ontario post.
The Raleigh service is relatively easy to use. A map of the city appears on the main page. Users are allowed to drag and drop a pin at the site of the problem on the map. The address auto-populates, saving the user from reporting by exact location. Users can also access a dropdown menu of common problems, or select other to report something that is not on the list. Using the system, “Residents may also select an issue to indicate their agreement with the request, make additional comments, follow the issue, or share their concern with fellow residents.”
Additional features allow citizens to submit a photo with their requests, and view a list of issues already reported. The site can be found at: http://www.raleighnc.gov/ext/SeeClickFix
The city of Ontario in California has made a new app called “MyOntario” available to all its residents. The app allows residents to request cart removal and submit requests for maintenance issues such as:
- Roadside debris
- Storm Drains
- Street sweeping
- Lane striping
- Traffic signs
- Gutter maintenance
- Tree trimming
- Park maintenance
- Weed abatement
- Sprinkler problems
Depending on the issue being reported the user is prompted with additional questions. For example, after selecting tree maintenance, the user can select “broken tree branch, “tree inspection”, or “bees”. Once the issue has been established, the user can take a picture of it and using built-in GPS technology, the app will attach a location to the picture. The user has the option to submit the request anonymously or can provide their name and phone number and even chose to receive updates on the request by text message. The goal of the app is to allow the city to respond to issues like a business, with better technology to increase efficiency and encourage faster response times.
The application was created by App-Order, a company made up of designers, developers, and experts in web app development. They have created apps for hundreds of municipalities, state counties, as well as businesses.
I live in Prince William county in Northern Virginia, and the county Parks and Rec Department does a great job of making information and services easily accessible online. Through their website, which is extremely easy to navigate, you can:
- find a local park or rec center
- register for an activity (dance classes, sports, children’s programs)
- check the status of fields and parks
- and look up general information on the department
The entire process is very streamlined and setup so even an internet-novice should have no problem navigating. I found the registering for a recreational activity aspect to be the best positive example. You can with just a few clicks register and pay for all kinds of activities. The website tells you right up front the dates, times, and costs with an easy check out process. The search function and check-out process are actually better than many private sector style websites, which is pretty impressive for a county resource. The next logical step for the county might be the development of a mobile app (if there is one I couldn’t immediately find it). As citizens use internet services increasingly through mobile platforms having apps and mobile-accessible websites will be the next big push in terms of modernizing community engagement.