Over the weekend an article by Motor CityMuckraker lit up many corners of the Internet. The article ranked in the top 20 on hacker news and sat on the homepage of the techology section of Reddit for two days. Over 6,500 people upvoted the article and there were 900 comments. Much of this attentionwas directed toward the impressive results recently reported by the City of Detroit.In April, Mayor Duggan announced the "Improve Detroit" app, powered by SeeClickFix. Since then, the program has been hugely successful for the city. Recently, Improve Detroit washighlighted by CityLab as a replacement for traditional311 services.
On Friday, Mayor Dugan's office published the early results of the Improve Detroitprogram:
- 10,000 issues have been submitted
- 6,500 people have downloaded the app
- Clean up more than 3,000 illegal dumping sites.
- Repair 2,092 potholes.
- Shut off running water to 991 abandoned structures.
- Remove 565 abandoned vehicles.
- Repair 506 water main breaks.
- Fix 277 traffic signal issues.
Here is what the Mayor had to say about the results:
"The Improve Detroit app has ushered in a new era of customer service and accountability in city government, It's never been easier for Detroiters to get their voices heard and their complaints taken care of."
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan
Here are some of our favorite comments from Reddit, ranging from the cheeky:
to the highly rational:
"In other news, improving citizen-to-government communication via proper use of modern technology increases overall efficiency in the system. More at 11."
Seriously, though, is it really that surprising that a properly implemented piece of software makes things efficient? When you remove several layers of bureaucratic hurdles and maintain a digitally managed system, you remove issues like lost paperwork, overlooked reports, and even just general miscommunication--you always see the current status of a report, the report itself always up and available to view, and the written form of reporting ensures a lower rate of misinterpretations from phone interaction. The number of mediums involved in actually taking care of these issues itself also tends to lead to issues, because you're trying to coordinate all kinds of auditory and written forms of communication through people who are inherently fallible! All it takes is someone being distracted for just a moment to cause them to forget about something and allow things to slip through the cracks. A centrally managed system (e.g. the app in question) allows for a much higher degree of consistency and reliability that simply cannot be obtained through the use of people alone.
This is exactly why government needs to keep up with technological advances. Even small upgrades like this can, as the article suggests, make a tremendous difference. There's absolutely no excuse for our government to be so behind on absolutely everything."EmeraldKnight92
There were so many comments and questions on Reddit that we want to add an AMA (Ask me anything) Here's the AMA
To verify to Redditers that I am who I say I am here's a little proof