In an effort to make it easier to request non-emergency city service with the press of a bottom on your mobile device, Atlanta City Councilmember Keisha Lance Bottoms is requesting the city’s information technology managers study the feasibility of creating an all-in-one, downloadable city app for mobile devices.
“The use of mobile devices is common place and many people have grown accustomed to interacting with public and private entities using their smartphones and tablets,” said Councilmember Bottoms. “There is an app for just about everything, except cutting through bureaucracy in our city. This creative use of technology should now allow us to streamline our ability to receive and resolve issues.”
Councilmember Bottoms’ said a City of Atlanta app should encompass every city department and city service, making it a one stop shop for users.
Cities such as Baltimore, Boston, Dallas, Houston, New York City, and Philadelphia have all initiated mobile applications that have helped in gathering quality information to assist city departments better streamline their operations.
According to Governing Magazine, when Boston launched Citizens Connect in 2009—a mobile app designed to make it easier for citizens to report problems to the city—there were fears that city hall would be buried in complaints about burned out streetlamps, potholed streets and crumbling sidewalks. Fortunately, these concerns were unwarranted and the app allows city departments to more effectively dispatch city workers.
The City of Seattle has a mobile app called Find It, Fix It. It allows residents to report an issue by snapping a photo with their smartphone, adding detailed information, and hitting submit.
In 2015, Denver launched pocketgov, a user- and mobile-friendly website that brings municipal government closer to residents, saves money and reduces wait times for those whose issues require a call to the municipality. The application also allows users to easily report problems such as potholes or graffiti by taking a picture and uploading it. Those without access to a camera can report simply by providing their location and typing a quick note describing the issue.
Under Councilmember Bottoms’ proposal, Atlanta Information Management will coordinate with all relevant city departments, including ATL311, on creation of the mobile application.
The information provided on the mobile app shall include, but not be limited to:
· Submitting service requests to city departments such as the Department of Public Works
· Licenses/permit information
· Zoning/building permit history for parcels located in the city
· Providing city council meeting/public hearing dates
· Sharing of city event information
Atlanta Information Management is asked to provide its findings to the Finance/Executive Committee within 90 days of the adoption of the legislation. The report will include the projected cost to create a mobile app on iOS and Android platforms, content to be included in app, and a coordination plan with city departments to ensure the mobile app is maintained and updated regularly.
Bottoms’ proposal was referred to the Finance/Executive Committee for further discussion at its 1 p.m. meeting on Wednesday, April 26 in Committee Room No. 2, Atlanta City Hall, 55 Trinity Avenue, S.W.