Greater City Providence

Testing the QAlert System Part II

On Monday I posted about the city’s new QAlert system for reporting issues to the city and tested it. I sent in a request to repair a brick crosswalk at the intersection of Benefit and Waterman. I received an automated reply today.

Activity was posted on a service request (ID: 1304) that you filed. The service request and activity details appears below:

Service Request Details:
ID: 1304 Date: 8/26/2008 10:48:00 AM
Type: Road repair or replacement
Comments: The individual is requesting service for a brick crosswalk at the interesection of Waterman and Benefit Street. The complaint is loose bricks creating trip hazard for pedestrians and causing cars to spin out when pulling out of the interesection. PM

Activity Detail:
Date\Time: 8/29/2008 11:40:25 AM
User: mderobbio
Comments: The customer entered this request under the wrong category so it went to the wrong division of DPW. This is an issue for DPW-Engineering and DPW-Highway.

Aside from being a little user unfriendly (“The customer entered this request under the wrong category,” well excuuuuuse me), a response within a week seems at least adequate to me. Next test is to see if and when the crosswalk gets repaired, I’ll be posting more updates.

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  • Oooh. Custom security images. Nice touch.

    I can’t express my jealousy about this system. I think Pawtucket public works uses carrier pigeons for this kind of thing. (I still believe that municipal wiki is the way to go. Check out Davis, CA.)

    That said, what government doesn’t know about public communications would fill volumes. Perhaps the language “The complaint was filed under…” would be nicer. A rare case where the passive voice is better than the active voice.

    Also, a really, really good system would have flagged this item for investigation: what were the choices, how were they presented, was there enough info to make a good choice.

    Primary usability, man. Will I ever get to stop singing this song?!?

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