Improving Utilities, One App at a Time

Improving Utilities, One App at a Time

Improving Utilities, One App at a Time

Picture this: you’re driving down the road while singing along to the radio when a huge pothole comes out of nowhere. You quickly swerve out of the way just in time to avoid losing a tire to what you’ve already nicknamed the ‘blackhole’. And no, you’re not clever enough to name a pothole just as quickly as the moment you saw it. In fact, it is the same pothole that’s been there the past few months.

One by one, cities are looking towards technology when it comes to the awareness and feedback of community problems, utilities in particular. The free mobile app known as SeeClickFix allows residents within a city or town to inform the area of issues that range from overgrown tree branches to potholes, leaking hydrants, litter, flooding, and malfunctioning traffic signals.

Appropriately named, the function of the app is for the user to snap a picture, add an address, or drag a map icon to the location of the issue, and include a small description. In doing so, fellow residents and community planners are made aware of the situation, allowing them to react in a way they see fit.

SeeClickFix is downloadable for a community between 1,000 and 3 million residents. In addition, the app allows information to be shared across social networks, is filtered by type of neighborhood issues, and allows users to see map views of nearby issues.

So far, hundreds of municipal, state, and county partners are actively using and promoting SeeClickFix. According to the Google Play website, over two million concerns have been documented. Of that two million, approximately 75% of them have been resolved. The app itself has a collective review of 3.6 out of 5 stars with reviews that range from ‘the app is too glitchy’ to ‘the best app for fixing day to day issues’.

Playing devil’s advocate, there is always the worry of being bombarded with issues that don’t apply and people getting upset when the issues don’t get fixed right away. Also, some incidents need more immediate action than others, with the lines of this concept being blurred to the residents using the app.

The presence and use of SeeClickFix could have made residents and city planners all aware of the previously mentioned ‘blackhole’, along with utility problems such as broken pipes or leaking hydrants. If your city has adopted this method, let’s hope the next time you come across that pothole, you do your part by posting at SeeClickFix!