The Department of Technology and the City of Columbus, Ohio launched MyColumbus, a free mobile application providing residents enhanced access to City and community resources. The application puts City Services at the fingertips of residents and visitors, bringing to life many of Mayor Michael B. Coleman’s initiatives to make Columbus the best city in the nation to live, work and raise a family. The MyColumbus mobile application uses integrated technologies, such as GPS for location services, RSS for City news feeds, and a social media center providing access to City of Columbus Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube accounts. Additionally, users can stream live video of City Council meetings, press conferences, and key City initiatives via government access channel CTV, Columbus Television.
MyColumbus encompasses four mayoral initiatives to engage city residents: MyNeighborhood with location-based mapping and information about community features and resources including refuse collection; GetActive with links to events calendar, park, bike and trail guides, tips for healthy eating and exercise, and much more; GreenSpot which provides access to resources on sustainable practices such as energy and water conservation, location-based mapping of recycling centers, and a Web-based pledge program where citizens and businesses can commit to “get green”; and “311” mobile access to the city’s call center where citizens can report or check on service requests such as potholes, broken street lights and graffiti.
The MyColumbus mobile application is part of a strategic mobile program developed by the City of Columbus’ Department of Technology. With smart phone use already at 50% for much of the US, the MyColumbus App was the obvious next-step in improving city-to-resident communication. The City of Columbus is using this innovative mobile platform to make public services more accessible and engaging to residents.
MyColumbus is a unique mobile app for local government due to its ability to combine multiple applications/modules into a single downloadable app. While many cities may offer a “311” mobile platform, users often have to download additional applications to access other city services. MyColumbus provides citizens with a single app which provides access to all the mobile elements for the Columbus region.
Citizens have used the app to report a variety of non-emergency services. The most commonly reported requests are:
o Abandoned Vehicle on Street
o Trash and Debris in Yard
o Weeds or High Grass on Property
o Condition of Street
o Fire Hydrant Repairs
o Graffiti on Public Right-of-Way
o Illegal Trash Dumping
Although the City of Columbus doesn’t generate revenue from the mobile application — the clear benefit is the ability to maintain consistent communication with the residents through multiple channels. Citizens and visitors are connected to the City via the mobile application and can readily access City events, breaking news via Social Media and updates and the ability to locate police and fire departments. Through the creation of the MyColumbus application, City Officials aim to streamline service and enable citizen-centric, collaborative government while creating a favorable user experience.