San Jose's new traffic management system has helped speed up response times for first responders. Source: City of San Jose
The city has also received recognition for the way it now incorporates more data into its planning processes. Before, the city relied on old-fashioned paper maps and traffic count numbers, but officials realized that this process left out information from significant sources.
“We said, we’re going to try to avoid making infrastructure investments for a siloed problem that might be changing substantially because of what’s being planned and vetted and discussed across departments,” Lloyd says. “Our Department of Transportation team completed one project to use data to see how the integrated development view could support our work aiming to eliminate traffic accidents and fatalities. The insights were amazing.”
Perhaps the most noticeable change to residents has come in the form of a revamped customer relationship management system. Previously, the city relied on an error-prone and redundant process, with departments passing thousands of emails to one another as they tried to stay on top of each case. San Jose’s mayor and city council prioritized implementing a better solution.
The city moved to an omnichannel system centered on a mobile app and online portal called My San Jose (now San Jose 311). San Jose built its mobile app platform with Oracle Data Visualization and Oracle Service Cloud, among other technologies.
Now, residents can instantly submit requests for issues like potholes, broken streetlights, abandoned vehicles, graffiti and illegal dumping. The system receives over 150,000 requests per year, and it reduced duplicate entries for abandoned vehicles by about 20 percent.
The app is so easy to use that it has become a victim of its own success. “Many folks have complimented the newfound ease of contacting the city. For others, we started to see, if we didn’t resolve something in a day, residents would call us to scold us,” Lloyd says.
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San Jose Uncovers Promising Innovative Ideas
Although the city favors proven solutions over highly hyped smart city technologies, San Jose has also seen success by giving people the freedom to experiment. Through fellowships, competitions and corporate partnerships, the city has uncovered a number of high-impact solutions.
One city fellow developed an algorithm to identify high-risk buildings for code enforcement. Another produced an algorithm that is highly accurate in predicting youth violence and potential blind spots. The winners of an “Unleash Your Geek” competition sponsored by the city came up with a drone that removes graffiti from highway overpasses. And Airbnb worked with the city to find hosts willing to provide space to homeless students.