Why we did this
In 2009, we launched the BOS:311 app. Through the app, residents can report non-emergency issues to right people at the City. Early on, we found out that the number one user of the app was actually City workers.
Some employees were using the app to help them do their jobs as inspectors and neighborhood advocates. This observation led to conversations about how we could tailor BOS:311 to best meet their needs.
In the spring of 2011, the City launched City Worker 1.0. We designed the pilot version of the app for arborists at the Parks and Recreation department. These arborists could see on a map and in a list the cases that had been assigned to them. These included downed limbs and tree pruning requests.
Even this limited functionality led to an increase in efficiency. Arborists were able to do more tree inspections than they had before.
Building on the success of the pilot, the City launched City Worker 2.0 in the fall of 2011. We’ve made updates to the app, including:
- tailoring content to the Public Works Department
- creating a faster version than the 1.0 app, and
- allowing City Workers to create, close, and re-assign cases in real time from the field.
Aside from making things more efficient, managers and supervisors now have a better sense of what’s happening on the ground. The app is now mainly used by supervisors in the field. Connected Bits built the app, and it operates on Android phones.
Results and lessons learned
In just two years, employees used the City Worker app to log more than 28,000 service requests. City operations have become more efficient thanks to the app.
Even though it was created for internal use, the app has helped introduce both new technology and new approaches to product development for City staffs. Workers from many departments have tested and shaped this app every step of the way.