Municipal Platform

ChiTEXT mitigates 3-1-1 call volumes while fostering innovation and transparency

9 June 2020

The City of Chicago 3-1-1 Center is one of the nation’s first and received nearly 5 million annual calls and the percentage received from mobile devices was growing. The City needed a two-way mobile accessible platform to be delivered as part of their customer engagement strategy.


Service updates monthly sent via ChiTEXT

ChiTEXT was built upon the REACH INTERACTIVETM platform and leveraged the SMS short code 311-311, two-way interactive informational and service requests, and branded, custom messaging templates.  The platform was deployed in partnership with Motorola Solutions and combined a standards-based Open 311 to Connected Bits and integrated open data sets.  This allowed citizens to easily submit SMS text messaging service requests to the City. ChiTEXT also queries information such as locations of towed vehicles, office information, and police and city council districts.   ChiTEXT offers service requests including, but not limited to, potholes, graffiti, street repairs, building violations and restaurant complaints. Each request responses to 3-5 “flex questions” and a picture message to create complete Open311 service requests.

Project highlights:

  • Deployed ChiTEXT in 2009 in partnership with Motorola Solutions
  • Service request status text updates delivered by CSR and Salesforce
  • Upgraded to include MMS picture messages and Administrative Hearing reminders
  • Configurable interactive flows and templates
  • Custom and standard integration with external information systems

Derrick Brownlee, Deputy CIO, explained that “ChiTEXT is a critical part of the City’s open data initiatives which has been embraced by the public.”

Nearly 30,000 monthly citizen updates reduce 3-1-1 agent time on the phone. Residents of Chicago have embraced the new channel which has been publicized on local broadcast TV.