In a city that is large enough to fit Boston, Manhattan and San Francisco, it’s not easy for Detroit workers to find – and fix – thousands of problems that exist in many long-neglected neighborhoods.
But that has changed with the introduction of a new cell phone app, “Improve Detroit,” that allows users to easily alert city hall to potholes, illegal dumping sites, abandoned cars, water main breaks, busted traffic signals and broken hydrants.
About 6,500 people have downloaded the app since it became available in April.
According to the city, the app has helped:
- Clean up more than 3,000 illegal dumping sites.
- Repair 2,092 potholes.
- Shut off running water to 991 abandoned structures.
- Remove 565 abandoned vehicles.
- Repair 506 water main breaks.
- Fix 277 traffic signal issues.
“The Improve Detroit app has ushered in a new era of customer service and accountability in city government,” Mayor Mike Duggan said. “It’s never been easier for Detroiters to get their voices heard and their complaints taken care of.”
Residents have long complained about city hall ignoring litter and broken utilities. But the app has provided a more transparent and direct approach to fixing problems.
“It saves time, it gets results, and I love how I can follow the progress being made on the complaint,” said Dan Wroblewski, who lives on Detroit’s far west side and uses the app to report issues while patrolling his neighborhood.
Since Duggan took office, the city also launched an app called “Detroit Police Connect,” which provides up-to-date information on the police department and ways to contact police anonymously. The city also launched “DDOT Bus,” an app that provides riders with real-time location, movement and arrival times of buses.
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.