Mayor Emanuel inspects the new 311. Photo: Brooke Collins

Mayor Emanuel Launches Modernized Chicago 311 System

New CHI 311 System Relies on User Feedback, Resulting In Easier Use, Greater Transparency and More Efficient Delivery of City Services

Mayor Emanuel today announced the launch of the new, modernized Chicago 311 City Services, making it even easier for residents to access city services with an updated system that’s more accessible, transparent, and user-friendly.

“The new, modernized 311 is a smarter system, it is a stronger system, and it is a system that works in real-time that will transform the relationship between residents and City service,” Mayor Emanuel said. “We built this new system with Chicagoans, for Chicagoans to make their lives easier and strengthen neighborhood services as the fundamental building blocks of strong, healthy communities.”

311 City Services is the primary way that residents interact with City departments, requesting services that are delivered by departments and agencies. With the new system, in addition to calling 311, residents can request city services and track progress from the beginning to resolution online via the CHI 311 web portal, by downloading the new CHI 311 mobile app on iOS or Android, or through multiple media channels and then provide feedback on the service delivery.

The new system will:

  • Improve resident experience by making it easier to find information, submit requests and track status of requests.
  • Give residents the ability to find information or submit requests through multiple media channels, including City of Chicago’s first ever 311 mobile app.
  • Make it easier to identify opportunities for improvement with continuous monitoring and performance measurements.
  • Optimize service delivery to decrease time to complete a service request.
  • Enable departments to better manage and track their work.
  • Residents will be able to stay up to date each step of the way and track requests as they move through the process.
  • Better allow 311 operators to access the information needed to assist residents.
  • Allow callers to avoid waiting on hold by giving them the choice of having a 311 operator call them back in the order they called to assist with city service requests, information inquiries or address concerns.

“We are excited about the improvements to the 311 system to help residents request services and information from the City in ways that work best for them,” said Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications Executive Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. “Whether it’s through the mobile app, by text or phone, we all benefit from the increased choices, transparency and accountability the new system brings.”

CHI 311 will completely transform the resident experience for city services through enhanced transparency into City operations. Once a resident submits a request, they can see the estimated completion date and get automatic updates when work is completed. The new system will improve City departments’ efficiency and streamline the service delivery processes — eliminating paper-based dispatch and scheduling, introducing the ability to close out requests in the field in real-time, and providing customized dashboards to measure performance. This means services will be delivered to residents in a more efficient manner.

“The new 311 system is the heart of the City, as information flows between it and many other systems,” Department of Innovation and Technology Commissioner and CIO Danielle DuMerer said. “By working with aldermen, residents and community groups to gather feedback on how they would like the system to look and what capabilities they need, we were able to develop a system that will truly work for Chicagoans.”

With the new CHI 311 mobile app, residents are able to create new service requests; check the status of existing requests and the time it will take to resolve; snap a photo and submit it with a request; map requests to help pinpoint a location; create an account to track service requests and get local, relevant information; provide feedback upon completion of the service request; search and see helpful knowledge articles; and view other service requests in their neighborhood and throughout the city. Residents will benefit from enhanced communication that fits both new and old ways in which residents are able to connect with the City.

The City used a co-development approach to create the new system. The Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) conducted a number of in person design workshops and focus groups to understand residents’ vision for 311 and to make that vision a reality. Residents participated in testing of early versions of the app and community portal at libraries and community colleges throughout the city. That informed the design and development for both the community portal and mobile app. The City will continue to incorporate community input after launch, adding new features to the web and mobile apps based on resident feedback. Residents can follow along or contribute their ideas on the CHI 311 public roadmap.

User testing. Photo: Patrick Pyszka

The previous 311 system was decades old and focused on phone communication; while this mode of communication will still be fully available, the new system provides options that fit the way that many of our residents communicate today. This modernization is part of the Mayor Emanuel’s overall goal to consolidate service systems, transform resident experiences, and streamline platforms to improve efficiencies and lower costs for the City. With the launch of the new 311 system, the City will also debut its new URL — chicago.gov, with more design improvements to come in 2019.

Residents who would like to request a city service can download the free CHI 311 mobile app from the Apple Store or Google Play, visit 311.Chicago.gov to begin to use this new and improved channel for available city services, or call 311.