2014 Runner Up: Increasing Accessibility and Accountability in the City of Boston
No one has the time, or the desire, to wait in long lines and drown in confusing paperwork. This is what Boston’s City Hall To Go program, started in December 2012, seeks to eliminate.
City Hall To Go is a mobile program that provides many of the services Boston constituents need within their own neighborhoods. Using a renovated 1985 bomb squad truck, the program allows residents to file for 47 services, including dog licenses, news alerts, residential parking permits, constituent complaints, and other municipal services with relative ease.
The traveling truck, which publishes its schedule online and can be tracked on Facebook and Twitter, visits different neighborhoods each day and increases the efficiency of Boston public services in a multiplicity of ways. It eliminates the need for employees and business owners to take time from their work to trek downtown. It has also been shown that since its introduction, wait times at City Hall have shortened.
The presence of this truck and its trained staff in Boston neighborhoods also gives residents the opportunity to ask questions and seek guidance on applications or forms. This is a particularly important aspect for older or less internet-savvy residents, or individuals for whom English is not their first language.
The program is funded by the Mayor’s Office budget and is looking to expand, potentially adding vehicles to provide more consistent and convenient service. By increasing access to important city services as well providing means for residents to express their ideas and concerns, Boston is fostering a more pleasant and reciprocal relationship between its residents and their government.
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