Less than Half of Citizens Realize They Can Connect with their Governments via Technology.

Position::News & Numbers

Local governments do not provide many general services--such as being able to report a road issue or apply for/submit a business permit --via modern digital channels, and more than half of Americans would be open to their taxpayer money going to research forward-looking technologies for their cities, assuming it is for services they would find helpful, according to a survey conducted by Salesforce Research.

The survey also found that many Americans seem to be either unaware of or believe their local governments lack the ability to provide citizen services through digital channels such as smartphone apps, e-mail, or websites. When asked which service local government provides to citizens via digital technologies, 41 percent of all respondents listed information on garbage pickups; 38 percent, the ability to pay property taxes; 37 percent, the ability to pay for parking/driving tickets, fines, or fees; 37 percent, the ability to report a road issue such as a pothole, or damaged street sign; 27 percent, information on street cleaning; 21 percent, the ability to apply for or submit a building construction permit; and 21 percent, the ability to apply for or submit a business permit. Thirty-five percent listed none of these.

Similarly, less than half of respondents thought they could use digital technologies to report safety issues such as a downed power line, crime, fire, or a drunk driver, or to access civic engagement services such as registering to vote, obtaining information on key civic issues, and following city budgeting and spending processes. Only 19 percent thought they'd be able to participate remotely in local town hall events using digital technologies.


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