Free app gives residents a direct line to city help
by Glenn Moore
Nov 27, 2013 | 3674 views | 1 1 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
An iPhone with the GoRequest app is used to report a cracked sidewalk on Harding Avenue.  Photo illustration by Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
An iPhone with the GoRequest app is used to report a cracked sidewalk on Harding Avenue. Photo illustration by Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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The city is trying to spread the word about a little-used smartphone application that lets people quickly report safety hazards and problems they encounter across Tracy.

City Manager Leon Churchill mentioned the GoRequest App at the end of the Nov. 19 council meeting.

David Ferguson, director of public works, said the free app is a way for residents to report any issue or danger they find in the public right of way.

Introduced in 2010 for Apple iOS and in 2011 for Android, the app has been used 427 times in three years in Tracy to report a service request. That is a number Ferguson said could improve.

“I think a lot of people just don’t know about it,” he said. “We haven’t done a good job advertising it so far.”

Ferguson said people can report potholes, unlit streetlights, dangerous buildings, broken bus shelters, graffiti, abandoned vehicles and other issues.

After choosing the type of problem from a menu, a resident can attach a photograph and add a comment before submitting the report to the city. App users can also choose to include their contact information.

Based on the issue type, the report goes to the appropriate city department.

A GPS tag pinpoints where the report is made so the user doesn’t have try to figure out the address.

Ferguson said one of the best features of the GoRequest app is the ability to include a snapshot with a report.

“A picture is worth a thousand words. It allows staff to know exactly what kind of crews and resources to send to the problem,” Ferguson said.

He said the reports also create a database to track trouble-prone areas.

Ferguson, who previously worked in the Oakland public works department, said reports in that city increased by more than 40 percent after a comparable app was introduced. He hopes Tracy residents use their smartphones and tablets to similar effect.

“It’s just another way to communicate with our residents,” he said.

GoRequest was provided free of charge to the city by the company Government Outreach and is available for free download in the Apple App Store and the Android Market.

Residents can also call or email the city with service requests at 831-6000 or publicworks@ci.tracy.ca.us.

• Contact Glenn Moore at 830-4252 or gmoore@tracypress.com.

 
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gadgetgeek
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November 27, 2013
The app is called GoRequest on the apple App Store, not goreport. I live and use it to report all sorts of issues to the city. It helps me to feel that the city is listening and responding to my requests! Check it out.


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