Palo Alto, California releases 311 services in a smartphone app


Palo Alto has launched a new mobile app – PaloAlto311 – that allows residents to directly report issues such as a pothole or graffiti and track the resolution of their request via mobile phone or online. The application is part of a comprehensive technology strategy Palo Alto has adopted to become a leading digital city and an additional tool to enhance civic engagement.

The release of the app is the latest in a broader initiative  to offer more city data and city services online. Through the app, residents can submit a service request simply by downloading the app, selecting from a menu of service requests, and sending it directly to the city. The app also allows residents to take a picture of the problem and send it in, and the app automatically knows the location of the problem (GPS and location services must be enabled on mobile device and may vary). Submitters can follow their request from the initial report to resolution right from their phones. Issues can also be reported via the web.

During the beta release, residents will be able to report a limited number of issues such as maintenance of city buildings, graffiti, missed street sweeping, sidewalks, storm drains, as well as streets and roadways including potholes and street and traffic light problems. In addition to reporting problems, residents can check out an e-book from the library and receive emergency notifications from the City on PaloAlto311.

The city worked with civic startup PublicStuff on the app during the city’s most recent CityCamp Hackathon. The app also supports multiple languages through One Voice – Instant Translation feature, allowing all Palo Alto residents who don’t speak English the ability to access city services and submit requests in their native language automatically from their smartphones.

“Releasing PaloAlto311 is a major milestone in our strategy to deliver smarter, digital city capabilities to our community,” said Chief Information Officer Jonathan Reichental.