Philadelphia launches 311 APP for smartphones

October 24, 2012 5:19:28 PM PDT
According to a recent report, only 55% of Philadelphians have ready access to the internet. That ranks among the lowest in big cities across the country. But city officials have come up with a new way to help bridge that digital divide.

In fact, there's an APP for that!

City officials realize that a lot of people do not have access to the internet.

"We have found that lots have access to smart devices, so this is a tool that they can use to report quality of life issues," said Sheryl Johnson.

Sheryl Johnson, Philadelphia's 311 Operations Manager, says they can do that by downloading the free Philly 311 APP.

And plenty of people already have.

311 APP Project Manager Tim Wisniewski says as of last week, it was the 53rd most downloaded item in Apple's entire APP Store.

"In the last 30 days, we've received about 2,000 requests, in addition we've got about 600 comments from users talking to each other and talking to the city," said Wisniewski.

What the APP does is give anyone with any smart phone or tablet a way to connect directly with the city 24 hours 7 days a week.

"This also demystifies government," said Johnson. "They don't have to know who they need to talk to, they can just put the issue in and we take care of the rest."

For example, when a photo revealing newly painted graffiti is sent in through the APP, a work order is automatically generated and sent to the municipal agency that would handle that specific issue. And many of the work-orders are taken care of within a week.

Action News spoke with a few people who have the 311 APP who say it is kind of like using you smart device as a blight-fighting tool.

"If I see some graffiti that is taken place or illegal dumping somewhere, it is very simple and easy to just take a picture right then and there, and submit the application. You can track it," explained Jennifer Rodriguez from Germantown.

To download the 311 APP, search Philly 311 at the APP store or go to the city's website, http://www.phila.gov/311/.


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