Easton residents will soon be provided with a new app that will make it easier to report potholes, signs down or road hazards directly to the people who need to know.
Town Administrator David Colton told Selectmen last week that the town received "verbal confirmation" that it will be involved in a program to expand Boston's "citizen's connect" application to municipalities in the commonwealth.
According to the City of Boston website, Citizens Connect "empowers residents to become the city's 'eyes and ears.'"
"We applied to be included in the citizens connect program which is essentially an app developed by the city of Boston where residents can, using their smart phone, if they see a pothole or a broken streetlight or a sign down they can go ‘bing, bing’ and zip it to us and we get it."
Colton said inclusion in the program was "competitive" and it would be at no cost to the town for at least the first three years.
Citizens Connect began in Boston three years ago, Boston Chief Information Officer Bill Oates told SearchCIO.com Executive Editor Christina Torode in an August interview.
"We are now on our third iteration of the project, and it has become an essential piece to how people connect to the city," Oates said in the interview. "Right now, 20 percent of the service requests that come into the city are coming through this mobile channel. So, not only have we reached out and found a new way to connect with the citizens, [but] we have also created a really low-cost channel to allow them to do that. It's been great, and now we get all the data generated from those requests as well."
Oates said that the app has become so popular that it is now being shared with other major cities in the United States.
Locally, Oates said he was excited to share it with Massachusetts municipalities as well. Last year, Massachusetts provided the Citizens Connect program with a $400,000 Community Innovation Challenge Grant to expand the app to local towns.
"We’re in the early process of setting that up," Oates said in August. "We’re really excited about taking some of the innovation and some of the success that we’ve had and bringing it to constituents all across the commonwealth."