Mobile Apps Enable Citizen Engagement And Better Services

Amy Burroughs | StateTech | April 8, 2014

Innovative apps and portals help localities transform service delivery.

...Apps and other initiatives have revolutionized the way governments deliver services by making citizens part of the solution. In San Francisco, food stamp recipients receive text alerts when benefits are about to expire. That city also partnered with Yelp to post restaurant inspection scores next to dining reviews. In Cleveland, bike advocates are using the Streetmix app to suggest design improvements to city planners.

“We’re seeing examples of cities large and small that are incorporating and developing exciting technology solutions, from open data to smart cities to gigabit solutions,” says Brooks Rainwater, director of city solutions and applied research for the National League of Cities. “Technology is a tool that helps local governments engage directly with citizens, and its use will only continue to grow as the benefits are more widely communicated through research dissemination and peer learning opportunities.”

In Montgomery County, Md., an award-winning suite of services has cracked government wide open. The openMontgomery portal has four channels, focusing on access, data, engagement and mobility. The county now publishes budgets, salaries, contracts, performance measurements, restaurant inspection results and raw data sets. The mobile channel offers citizen-oriented apps ranging from real-time bus information to 311 requests, while a social media platform enables residents to share ideas with officials...