When you have to make a service request or report a problem you might normally call the aldermanic office that then inputs the data into 311. Or you many of you call 311 directly. Do you ever wonder what happens with all the data that is collected from your calls? Currently, there is no system to aggregate and analyze the data that is collected from service requests and problems. Each call is answered individually. Implementing Open 311 architecture can help the City connect service requestsand problems to emerging trends and then prioritize resources and dollars effectively. On the customer service side, you will be able to leverage technology to submit and track your service requests. This will increase transparency in service delivery but also enable you to have more substantive discussions withme regarding service issues.

For nearly two years, I have been talking to you about Open 311. If it is fully implemented, you will start to see more cost efficient service delivery, more robust capital improvement programs, better budgets and a more transparent government.

Open 311 Update and the Chicago Works iPhone application

When I was running for alderman, I talked with many of you about Open 311 and how we can make service delivery more transparent and use data to make more informed decisions about service provision. After taking office, I was asked by the Mayor’s office to sit on the Open 311 working group. By opening up the city’s data, software developers will be able to develop service request applications for smartphones and other devices. Simply put, Open 311 will result in smarter and more efficient government.

During my campaign, 2Pens Media and I developed the Chicago Works iPhone application. This app enabled users to take pictures and videos related to service issues and these issues were GPS coordinated and sent to us via email. Open 311 allows independent software developers like 2pens Media to use the city’s data infrastructure to create new and innovative ways for Chicagoans
to report problems and see their tax dollars at work. These public-private partnerships will give us additional tools to address service delivery and allow us to think critically about what we do and drive us toward more efficient and informed service delivery system.

The original app was not able to feed requests into the Chicago 311 system. This all changes with our newest version!  Please note that the current 311 system cannot handle images, but by emailing them to the ward office with the Chicago Works app, they will be able to be forwarded independently to city departments, when needed.

Here is what the Chicago Works app will do:

  • Recognize the ward you are in when the app is opened
  • Enable you to make service requests directly into the 311 system
  • Once your service request is submitted, you will receive a tracking number
    that can be used to monitor and track your request
  • The alderman in that area will receive your request and tracking

We are really excited about the new app. It has evolved from a basic service reporting app into a robust
city-wide tool. The app will be available shortly in the iTunes store.  We hope to develop an Android Version soon.

Here is a news story on the original Chicago Works app.

Chicago Works Screenshot 1


Chicago Works Screenshot 2