A Work in Progress: Philadelphia's 311 System After One Year

A study from Pew's Philadelphia Research Initiative finds that Philadelphia's 311 contact system succeeded during its first year of operation in giving residents improved and easier access to information about city government. It did so at lower cost than other cities and won strong ratings from its customers.  But the system also mishandled thousands of service requests, and nearly one quarter of all service requests were not completed in the promised timeframe.  

The study reviewed Philly311's operations in 2009 in relation to 14 other communities that operate 311 systems.  Among those communities are most of the largest with such systems—New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami-Dade County (FL), Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Detroit, Charlotte-Mecklenburg (NC), San Francisco, Columbus (OH), Baltimore, Denver and Pittsburgh.

The front facade of the Supreme Court of the United States in Washington, DC.

Agenda for America

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Data-driven policymaking is not just a tool for finding new solutions for emerging challenges, it makes government more effective and better able to serve the public interest.


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Data-driven policymaking is not just a tool for finding new solutions for difficult challenges. When states serve their traditional role as laboratories of innovation, they increase the American people’s confidence that the government they choose—no matter the size—can be effective, responsive, and in the public interest.