In a push for government organizations to be more transparent about their inner workings and more efficient in the way they serve the public, agencies are turning to government technology solutions. More and more voters are beginning to utilize technology to give vital feedback about how their elected officials and city processes impact their daily lives, and this is made possible through innovations concerning government IT solutions and applications. A 2012 study from the Pew Research Center found that 34 percent of American adults contacted a government official via online methods, and 39 percent participate in political activities on social networking sites.
This all means that government organizations can do more to improve citizen participation and garner more feedback by implementing new IT solutions. How is technology already helping the public sector enhance civic engagement and improve government processes? Here are just a couple ways:
Applications for crime information
Mobile and Web apps are becoming popular ways to engage the public and get information out there that might otherwise take longer to disseminate. According to Governing, in Oakland, California, authorities wanted to make sure they remained transparent and could promote feedback from the public about how they were doing as far as responding to service calls. They did this by creating an app that allows people to see where completed crime calls have taken place on an interactive map. The app was developed in response to citizen requests for more crime data.
"Now you have a unique application that not many agencies share," said Ahsan Baig, the city's division manager of public safety services and business applications. "It's all about transparency and data. It helps the public to understand what's happening in their neighborhood. It's real time, and it gives a better perspective to residents about how the law enforcement agency is performing."
Public safety and transportation
Getting the information out about crime isn't the only way government agencies can provide for their communities. Public safety can be augmented as well, along with information about traffic and parking. For a lot of people, their morning commute can be the most stressful time of day as they attempt to avoid accidents and find parking. According to Government Technology contributor Janice King, the future of transportation includes smarter road systems that will transform how we commute and make traffic and accident management safer. Intelligent transportation systems will hopefully help cities redefine mobility and help citizens stay secure on the road.