White House Backs Plan to Open 311 Data to Developers

I was reading this post a while ago about “the White House Backs Plan to Open 311 Data to Developers” and thinking about what would this would imply? And what do you think this will change? Any concerns in your opinion? Does this have any importance for you personally?

What is 311? Nothing on that link says anything about what it is!

Second Paragraph:

Almost every city in the country has a 311 Customer Service Center providing residents answers about city services, and a way to report potholes, graffiti or other issues

Ah fair enough, missed that bit!

I can’t really see any use within my web apps for such a beast but I think it’s great that they’re opening it up. I certainly don’t agree with many of the government decisions but I am happy to see the U.S. Government trending to more open standards.

I think it’s a waste of money. Report potholes? If roads were privatized, there would be no potholes!

I think it’s a waste of money. Report potholes? If roads were privatized, there would be no potholes!

Lawlz, of course there wouldn’t be any potholes… only 3 people would be driving on them. And no heavy road-breaking fire trucks or school busses : )

Toll roads, on the other hand… still have potholes, even though they are paid for every time you drive on them.

Question: what does this have to do with the rest of the world? Is this going to affect other countries somehow? Or is it just cool that some govt opened up something?
Remember, this is the govt who considered encryption like PGP “munitions” and “exporting” them to foreign nations was a punishable offence. Not-so-recent history either.

First thing that came to mind was to mash this up with Twilio’s SMS API.

You make a phone app that lets people report an issue using one of these APIs, then a server side component occasionally polls the API for the status of the issue. Once it changes, the app can send an SMS to the phone letting you know.

It’s already done. I forget the app on iPhone but it sends the pic of potholes directly to the gov’t. Forgot what it’s called but this is a great idea by the gov’t! Probably using some sort of HTTP agent but it’s now easier!

My 311 experience in Houston.

  1. I noticed a traffic light that was working erratically at an intersection that is know for having many accidents. I called 311 and reported it and got a call back very quickly asking for confirmation of the location and problem. I drove back through there a few hours later and the problem had been fixed. I don’t know if it was fixed as a result of reporting it, but was happy it was fixed.

  2. Driving back streets in a low income neighborhood to avoid traffic, I noticed water bubbling out of the street at an intersection. There was enough water on the street that I figured it had been that way for a while. I reported it via 311. A few weeks later I came back through there and noticed the water was bubbling out of the street at a higher rate than before and there was nothing to indicate anyone had visited the problem. I reported it again and about a week later someone fixed the leak.

In both cases I wasn’t provided with any kind of reference number to follow up on it. It was also difficult to report intersection where the water leak happened because one of the street signs was missing.

I don’t know if this information helps anyone but I thought I would share it in case it does. 311 works here in Houston although it could use some improvement.

There is so much we could do better with better data. It’s harder to lie when you have hard data. You can do a little twisting still, but not as easily.

wow i dont think we have that here in Louzyanna
have you ever drove in South Louisiana the roads are one big pot hole!
it would be easier to report the roads that are in ok/good condition and thats only a few spots of the interstate.
I always say:
“You must be drunk if your not swerving while driving in Louisiana or just like hitting pot holes”
they have to patch the blacktop roads after every rain and they just patch the holes that are over a foot deep :stuck_out_tongue:

if we did have 311 it would always be busy!
i see hundreds of things id report daily

(edit just googled 311 and my city/state looks like they it’s currently in development! )

Psh can’t be worse than the roads in Michigan… which are always under construction. Men at Work is the state slogan, the sawhorse is the state animal, road salt the state mineral, road-cone-orange the state colour : )

Why couldn’t there be any school buses? They actually have some private roads, and they all outperform their socialized counterpart.

[ot]A public school bus paid for with public moneys taking kids to public schools… who’s going to pay to use that road? The bus driver? The school? The kids? I remember a local bruhaha over whether fire trucks should be driving over long private roads in the woods to reach a housefire. I remember people who chose to build their houses at the ends of such long private roads complaining that their kids had to walk too far to get to the busstop on the public road. Can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Private roads do great in rich areas, and they do great in tightnit communities where everyone wants things to stay kept up. They do terrible where there resources are low or the community doesn’t really exist. When everyone’s poor or out for themselves, you get fisherman’s dilemma. Roads turn into what you see in Haiti (pre earthquake). Why would anyone fill a pot hole if they are just shelling out money alone for it? Because it makes them feel warm and fuzzy inside? If there’s some sort of social pressure, sure, but that comes from a community. You have to care what your neighbours think of you.

But you can tell I’m biased: I don’t mind have all of us throw money into a public pot which is then used as the resource to keep general infrastructure upkept. When the money is misspent or the resources aren’t enough to keep said infrastructure up, I tend to blame that on mismanagement (or outside influences you have no control over) rather than the system itself somehow being inherently faulty.[/ot]