Fix 311 Makes It Easy to Report Problems

Unique mobile app enables crowdsourcing of municipal service requests.

A massive pothole was no match for a developer’s tire, but it did spawn the Fix 311 app for crowdsourcing problem reports. 

After a large snowstorm in 2010 left the Washington, D.C., area riddled with potholes, developer Minh Tran’s car fell victim to one. He had trouble reporting it, because he was unsure of what jurisdiction he was in — so he wrote an app. Realizing that municipal service requests extend far beyond pothole repair, he then set out to develop a nationwide app for the 311 system. 

While the Open311 standard enables collaborative civic tracking, the drawback is that cities must each develop their own mobile app — a costly proposition. “I consider that wasteful of taxpayers’ money because each city basically replicates the same app in another city,” Minh says. “Why not share resources instead of reinventing the wheel?”

Available for Android and iOS, the location-based Fix 311 app can be used in any city. The app displays a service list for tasks, such as reporting graffiti or an abandoned vehicle, and also works as a mobile website that displays a news feed. Citizens can use the free app to place requests and track or cancel cases.

Tran is working with large cities, such as Boston, Chicago and San Francisco, and dozens of smaller municipalities. The app is free to users, and the Fix 311 web-based customer relationship management (CRM) system is available on an annual subscription basis. Cities receive the service requests via the 311 system, server-to-server to their own CRM system, or via e-mail. 

Likening his system to 911, in which callers only need to know a single number, Tran points out that a single Fix 311 app will work wherever users go.

For more details, check out this GovFresh article and watch their video below.

<p>Image: <a href="" target="_blank">Fix 311</a></p>
Oct 12 2012