City Smartphone Apps Gaining Steam in Honolulu

April 9, 2012 9:41 am 0 comments

DaBus for iOSThe City Department of Information Technology (DIT) partnered with local developers to enhance public service by providing key information to campers, bus riders, and those interested in reporting problems to the City and the public is making good use of the new services.

“We are pleased that the public has embraced the City’s newest online services as well as other services such as the NIXLE notification system and our Facebook and Twitter accounts,” said Mayor Peter Carlisle.

The successful online camping registration program allows campers, who formerly had to wait in line for hours—and sometimes days—before camp registration deadlines, to now register online for campsites. More than 1,300 users have already taken advantage of the new registration system.

The City has also added HEA, a unique feature for smartphones that provides users with access to information about bus schedules, routes, and locations. This novel approach to transportation offers riders immediate information regarding bus and bus stop locations and problems in the system.

There is also DaBus [iTunes], an iPhone app, and Allb.us, a web app.

“This application is highly successful,” said Forest Frizzell, Deputy Director of DIT. “It allows us to put information quickly in the hands of riders. It was developed in partnership with a member of our community and highlights our effort to leverage technology to keep the public informed.”

In another example of using technology to disseminate important information, the Honolulu Tsunami Evacuation Zones [iTunes] application allows residents and visitors to quickly determine the need to evacuate during a tsunami warning. “We learned after the Japan tsunami scare that due to the high adoption rate of cell phones versus land lines, many people no longer use traditional phone books,” Frizzell said.  “In the past, that’s where people got emergency information so we are now adapting to how people prefer to consume information.”

Honolulu 311, a smartphone app for reporting City issues, has garnered extraordinary adoption and penetration into the social media network. The number of users has exploded. “We are finding that this low cost system enables us to quickly locate problems,” Carlisle said. “We are now looking at additional applications of this powerful tool that currently allows users to report issues like abandoned vehicles, broken street lights, or illegal dump sites.”

In the two months since its debut, more than 900 reports have been submitted to the City using Honolulu 311.

All of these free apps and more can be downloaded on the City’s transparency website at can-do.honolulu.gov.

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