The Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) is reaching out to citizens to help it improve service delivery with the launch of its Find & Fix mobile app.

Using the app, road users can report infrastructure defects like potholes, faulty traffic lights, non-functioning storm water drains and missing manhole covers.

At launch, the app is restricted to smartphone users, running Windows, iOS or Android. A tablet version is expected soon. BlackBerry users can install the BlackBerry App SNAP and use the Android app.

Currently, the JRA Find & Fix app has a manual feed into the JRA’s back-end systems, but within three to four months, reports should be fully integrated into the backend processes.

“The launch of this new smartphone app forms part of the JRA’s turnaround strategy and service delivery drive,” says Skhumbuzo Macozoma, MD of JRA.

It is part of the agency’s “Just tell u” service delivery drive, which supports the City of Johannesburg’s “Active Citizenry” campaign to involve citizens in service delivery activities, and which includes contact points including e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, a new service delivery mailbox and the new mobile app.

The JRA Find & Fix app was developed by Intervate. It provides a simple interface for the public to report issues – with a picture and GPS co-ordinates – and log a service request.

Importantly, users can also monitor and view the progress of their service requests.

The value of an app such as this lies in to the ability of the agency to act upon service requests.

Macozoma points out that the beck-end systems at JRA have also been upgraded.

In the past, when a user logged a call it was dispatched to the JRA and then to the regions, where someone created a works order and finally a team would be dispatched to do the work.

“Now, when you use the app, a lot of the back-office work happens automatically,” Macozoma says. “This eliminates a lot of the work that delayed delivery in the past.”

When a user logs a call via the app, it moves to the back office system, then to the works management system. It then moves to the regional operations team to be approved, upon which it goes back to the works order management system. As soon as the issue is fixed, it goes to the back office application to be closed out.

Users can also view a map of all logged calls, and can share information with other road users.

Macozoma stresses that the app not only gives citizens a point of contact, but also engenders better productivity and accountability within the agency.

“What we are trying to do with the app is to add one more way of improving the level of engagement with the citizens of the city,” Macozoma says.
“The benefit of the app is that it is part of the movement of people and companies that are using connectivity and big data to improve services to the public.

Macozoma says Find & Fix is just the first planned for the City of Johannesburg, which plans to launch its own app if the JRA app is successful.