U.S. citizens are more connected than ever. Studies show that 84% of American adults use the Internet and that cell phone usage in the adult population is over 90%; with this incessant connection, people expect immediate response to issues. Public works and public safety departments acknowledge that they must change their approach to interacting with citizens and information sharing. Continuous news and updates are widely available online and staff are able to respond to concerns in real-time. So what’s next in improving the government’s reach to citizens? Many are finding the answer to that question in the developing environment where public sector organizations and citizens collaborate in support of public safety.
Accela is changing the way municipalities share information through a cloud platform which facilitates the automation and visualization of public works-related projects. Accela is helping to streamline permit acquisition and drive collaboration between public and private sector contractors, which in turn is providing a transparency that has never before been a part of public works. In one case, the City of Baltimore was challenged with managing and communicating details of thousands of infrastructure projects. Public safety officials asked project leaders to upload their data into a right-of-way database so that the information on all projects could be viewed as a whole. Once placed within Accela’s system, conflicts and opportunities for improving efficiencies were quickly uncovered and were then resolved. Additionally, having all of this information in one place allowed Baltimore spokespersons to better communicate detours and project details to citizens. The city estimates that they will save upwards of $900,000 annually with this newly enabled collaboration.
Text2Them developed the first two-way text communication system that allows municipalities to push out information to citizens as well as receive tips and communication via text. Mimicking how phone systems work, Text2Them allows citizens to receive an auto-reply, connect to a live operator, remain anonymous, and even have their text conversation transferred to another person or department within an agency. When public safety departments are on high alert in emergency situations and voice lines become jammed or inoperable, the ability to text enables the continuity of operations that emergencies demand.
ikeGPS employs its smart laser measurement solutions to capture, record, and export measurement data for more accurate situational awareness. Using a smart-phone captured image, ikeGPS is able to make precise measurements of structures, distances, and more. For public safety and public works, this accuracy increases the productivity and safety of field personnel when dealing with emergency response.
For more information about these solutions and many more ways citizens are participating in public safety efforts, register for our Citizen Engagement Seminar on June 16, 2016 in Washington, DC.