Chicago's New 311 App Lets Residents Track Requests

Chicago released a new, centralized 311 app and Internet interface that allows residents to track requests to the city for things like tree trimming, rat poisoning and garbage bin replacement.

John Byrne, Chicago Tribune / December 18, 2018
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(TNS) — Chicago residents will be able to track requests from the city for things such as tree trimming, rat poisoning and garbage bin replacement through a mobile app via the updated 311 system City Hall will launch soon.

The new technology could further centralize the kinds of nuts-and-bolts services that were once largely the ward-level purview of aldermen.

In addition to the app, the 311 system will have a new Internet portal, according to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office. It will be easier for the city to figure out how to more efficiently deliver services by measuring performance, according to the news release.

And callers to the 311 center will be able to request a callback from a 311 operator rather than waiting on hold, according to the release.

Emanuel has been discussing the 311 upgrade for years. He talked in 2015 about privatizing it, rather than paying for the modernization, only to have aldermen complain about putting control of a service so many Chicagoans use in the hands of a private company that could employ non-union workers unfamiliar with the city.

The budget for the 311 work was $35 million. It was part of his 2018 budget, according to city spokeswoman Tori Joseph.

The 311 system was launched under Mayor Richard M. Daley as a way for city residents to request city services directly from City Hall, cutting out aldermen from the process and diminishing their ward-level power.

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