Spokane Valley launches new infrastructure reporting system
SVexpress application employs GPS mapping
Virginia ThomasOctober 11th, 2018
Since launching a citizen infrastructure reporting app last month, the City of Spokane Valley has received more than a dozen reports through the app, says Elisha Heath, executive assistant to the city manager.
The app is intended to allow Spokane Valley residents to communicate more efficiently with the city regarding issues such as potholes, broken streetlights, and graffiti. Residents can report the problem and attach a photo, check in with the city if no visible progress has been made toward correcting the issue, and access information on Spokane Valley news and events.
SVexpress was launched Sept. 1, Heath says. Prior to the app, residents could call the city or use the online form through the Citizen Action Request Entry System, or CARES. However, Heath says the system wasn’t easily customizable for city staff, mapping through CARES was limited, and the software was outdated.
The city’s website developer, Waterbury, Conn.-based QScend Technologies Inc., developed the SVexpress app for $3,000, which Heath says was funded through a one-time appropriation in Spokane Valley’s 2018 budget.
One of the benefits of the app, Heath says, is more precise mapping through geolocation.
“The app uses your phone’s GPS coordinates to automatically input your location,” Heath says. “If you are out running errands and you see a pothole, you can pull (the app) up without having to know the address.”
Heath says SVexpress also enables residents to keep track of reports they’ve submitted through the app.
“If they haven’t seen any progress, they can send a response back to the city and say, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ and city staff would be able to say, ‘The sign is on order,’ or, ‘This has to happen before the repair can take place,’” Heath says. “We monitor (the app) Monday through Friday during normal business hours, so staff is sent the information … during those hours.”
Heath says 18 reports have been made through SVexpress since it launched. Reports are assigned to the departments automatically, so a report on a street sign, for example, won’t go to someone fixing potholes.
“One of the things that is a challenge is that the app is designed specifically for phones; it’s not designed for other devices,” Heath says. “It’s not available on your tablet, but the website is mobile-friendly.”