Johannesburg Road Agency (JRA), South Africa
Functioning as a state owned entity, the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) is responsible for the construction, operation, control, rehabilitation and maintenance of the roads and storm water infrastructure in the City of Johannesburg.
This mandate includes the erection and maintenance of bridges, traffic signal systems, footways, and road signage and markings.
The Agency is also accountable for identifying, documenting and repairing road faults throughout the city. In a region that is well known for torrential thunderstorms in the summer months, the JRA is often inundated with citizen requests for prompt response to new issues found on the city’s highways and urban transit routes.
Although responding to pothole problems, non-functioning traffic lights, missing manhole covers, and other road issues, is a function that falls on the shoulders of the JRA, it actively invited citizens to log issues. Until the launch of the app, citizens had been required to log issues via a centralised City of Johannesburg call centre.
The JRA’s strategy to become more accessible and more accountable meant it needed to provide more avenues for people to report problems. Public feedback had also indicated that, at times of high call volumes, motorists tend to regard the call centre as a sub-optimal way of processing requests, which resulted in frustration and a feeling that the requests were ‘falling on deaf ears’.
As part of this ‘turnaround strategy’, the JRA took the decision to build a framework that would allow the public to submit complaints directly to the agency, eliminating its reliance on an overstretched City call centre complaints network.
After considerable investigation the JRA opted to create a mobile app that would allow motorists to instantly and conveniently submit road issues to the agency – from their phones, from wherever they may be.
It was critical that this framework could tightly integrate with the JRA’s core operations – issuing tasks to repair teams and monitoring their progress in real time. In this way, the JRA benefited by increased efficiencies and more automated workflows.
The JRA selected Intervate, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and a finalist of a global Microsoft Partner CityNext Award, to assist them on this journey. Intervate’s selection was based on its experience in developing business and community mobile apps and its existing Smart Citizen product (formerly known as Citizen Reporting Framework).
Its strong pedigree of innovation, and a passion to create impactful solutions meant that this was an ideal partnership to help enhance the JRA’s service delivery.
The result was the “Find & Fix” mobile app which is available for Windows Phone, iOS and Android Smartphone devices.
Find & Fix automatically detects from where the user is sending the information via the device’s GPS, which allows the JRA to dynamically plot road faults against geographic locations. The ability for users to add photos helps in the JRA in identifying the issue onsite.
The magic of the app is that it geo-fences the regions where incidents are reported. This means that service requests are easily grouped and work teams are dispatched efficiently. It also ensures that duplicate entries are handled accordingly.
Citizens have shown overwhelming support for the app – with tens of thousands of users downloading the app to date, and very high levels of engagement. Positive sentiment is flowing across various feedback channels, particularly on social media (the agency is available on Twitter via @MyJRA).
Most importantly, service incidents are being addressed far quicker than before. This is the ultimate recognition that e-government and smart city initiatives like this can have a sustainable, real-world impact on our communities and local economies.
The JRA can stay on top of issues with a visual dashboard that shows a summary of outstanding and closed issues.
The JRA has seen the benefits of the integration between the GPS and photographic element of Find & Fix including reduced minimal human intervention and improved visibility by being able to view the issue. Furthermore, traditional internal workflow processes have made it far easier for them to ensure that issues are being resolved far more quickly. They are also able to more accurately monitor contractor teams and to hold them responsible in the event of a failure to act.
Geo-fencing has also enabled the JRA to automatically assign jobs to teams, leading to greater efficiencies. In fact, the app has changed the way the JRA responds to complaints at a fundamental level and has established a foundation for them to innovate further.
Find&Fix can be installed from the following app stores:
Since we launched the Find and Fix app, the residents of Johannesburg have come on board with great enthusiasm, resulting in improved positive responsiveness to service delivery issues.Skhumbuzo Macozoma, Johannesburg Road Agency Managing Director
An increasing number of residents and customers are using the app to assist the City to timeously attend to service delivery breakdowns such as potholes, faulty traffic lights and other road-related defects.Skhumbuzo Macozoma, Johannesburg Road Agency Managing Director
We have reduced the average time to resolve a service request from 32.4 days to less than a day,Skhumbuzo Macozoma, Johannesburg Road Agency Managing Director
The launch of this new smartphone app forms part of our turnaround strategy and service delivery driveSkhumbuzo Macozoma, Johannesburg Road Agency Managing Director