The city’s 311 service helpline was first launched in 2001. Houstonians can dial 311 for information on city services and to report non-emergency concerns, like potholes or street light outages. There’s also a website — houston311.org — for the same purpose.
Speaking at the city’s 24/7 call center, Mayor Annise Parker says the new free smartphone app will make it even easier for citizens to connect with the city.
“We now have the opportunity through a brand new app to allow those computer users out there, who could already send us an email, who could already call us to report that neighborhood problem, now they can do it onsite in a few moments from their smartphone.”
A map on the redesigned website as well as in the app shows which issues have already been reported and the status of all requests. Parker hopes this will result in fewer redundant requests and help to expedite the service process — even if the number of requests rises significantly.
“It would be a good problem to have because the biggest issue, and has always been the biggest issue, is that citizens don’t tell us it’s there. We cannot fix what we do not know about.”
After downloading the Houston 311 app, smartphone users have to register and provide an e-mail address and password.
To report an issue, users can choose a category from a list and add a description and a photo before submitting it.