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Text Messaging Capabilities Are Added to Chicago’s 311 and City Alerts System

New ChiTEXT features allow Chicagoans to text in service requests, receive “311 Service Tracker” updates via text message, and sign up for localized City alerts; Mayor Emanuel applauds civic developers for creating innovative new 311 applications

CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–December 17, 2012. Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced that Chicagoans can now interact with Chicago’s 311 system via text message. With this new feature, texting CHICAGO to 311311 allows people to submit a service request, track the progress of the request, and sign-up to receive an email when the issue is resolved.  The new system also allows residents to sign up for localized City alerts based on their address. This upgrade to the City’s ChiTEXT tool is part of Mayor Emanuel’s Open311 initiative that was launched in September to bring unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability to the City.  

“By employing text message technology, Chicagoans no longer need a smart phone or a computer to use the 311 system, check on services and keep City Hall accountable,” said Mayor Emanuel. “We are committed to building new open systems to spur civic innovation and leverage new ways that technology can continue to connect our City. 

This is the first time texting service has been used to receive service requests to the 311 system. Previously, the ChiTEXT tool could only be used to provide on-way information, from the City to a person, which included contact information for government offices and the location of a relocated vehicle. Adding this feature allows for two-way texting communication with 311, so that Chicago residents have a full range of options to connect with the City: they can submit service requests by calling 311, visiting www.cityofchicago.org/311, or texting CHICAGO to 311311.

Open 311 has also allowed for third parties to build applications on the 311 platform, creating even more ways for the public to interact with the City. Chicagoans can use a variety of third party applications built using the open 311 technology including the ChicagoWorks app, Fix311 app and SeeClickFix.com.  Since connecting with Open311 in October, SeeClickFix.com has experienced a ten-fold increase in number of issues reported each week, an eight-fold increase in number of comments posted each week and a seven-fold increase in the number of Chicago users creating content on the site.

This Open311 technology was developed through a partnership between the City of Chicago, the Department of Information Technology and Code for America and funded in part by the Smart Chicago Collaborative.

Source: cityofchicago.org

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