One mobile app has sparked a wave of positive change for Detroit, a struggling city that covers about 140 square miles and has about 680,000 residents. In just six months, an app launched by the mayor and his administration has led to the resolution of more than 10,000 problems.
The Improve Detroit app was launched on April 8, with the goal of making the city government “more efficient and accessible to its residents.” The app, available for Android and iOS devices, lets users report problems, share details and a photo of the issue, and be notified whenever there’s a status update on the reported problem.
Since the launch, the app has been downloaded more than 6,500 times and has been used to resolve more than 10,000 reported problems. According to city officials, these problems include cleaning up more than 3,000 illegal dumping sites; repairing 2,092 potholes; shutting off running water to 991 abandoned structures; removing 565 abandoned vehicles; repairing 506 water main breaks; and fixing 277 traffic signal issues.
The average time to resolve a reported problem is nine days, according to the city.
“The Improve Detroit app has ushered in a new era of customer service and accountability in city government,” said Mayor Mike Duggan.
Detroit residents who want an alternative to reporting issues via their smartphones can also report problems from their computers using an online form.
Since Duggan took office, city officials have launched two other apps: Detroit Police Connect, which gives users up-to-date information on the Detroit Police Department, lets them give anonymous tips, and provides helpful tips; and the DDOT Bus app, which gives users real-time location, movement, and arrival time information for buses at their particular stop.
Detroit is hardly the first city to use apps to improve connections with residents. For instance, city officials in Woodland, California, recently launched an app called myWoodland, which lets residents submit, track, and view local service requests and find information about city events and news.