St. Albert's "Spruce It Up" App Pilot a Success

The City of St. Albert has successfully completed the first eight months of a pilot project for its Spruce It Up application, which provides residents with the ability to notify City staff of non-emergency issues via a mobile app or online. The pilot project will continue in 2015 so that the City can gather information over a full calendar year.

“Residents can notify City staff at the very moment they encounter an issue in the community, with the option to provide a photo and exact location.” - Mayor Nolan Crouse

During 2015, the pilot will involve statistical benchmarking, performance assessment and a cost benefit analysis. At the end of the pilot project, the City will do an evaluation of the app and its effectiveness to determine if it will be adopted on a permanent basis.

“The Spruce It Up app is a great addition to the City’s toolkit,” says Mayor Nolan Crouse. “Residents can notify City staff at the very moment they encounter an issue in the community, with the option to provide a photo and exact location.”

The City has received a total of 1,144 reports via the app regarding issues in the community.

In addition to Spruce It Up, residents continue to have the ability to report non-emergency issues by phone, email or in person.

Since launching the Spruce It Up app publicly in April 2014, the City has received a total of 1,144 reports via the app regarding issues in the community. To put this figure in perspective, for the same time period, the City’s Municipal Enforcement Service (MES) received 2,469 reports from all sources (including Spruce it Up) on MES issues. The number of reports is even higher for the City’s Public Works (PW) department, which usually receives over 10,000 customer service requests each year, reported from all sources (including Spruce It Up), about PW issues.

Of the 1,144 reports received via Spruce It Up, the top five most reported issues were: Street issues (potholes, curb damage, etc.): 14 percent Parks, landscaping, grass cutting and litter: 13 percent Trees: 9 percent Street lights / Utility boxes: 9 percent Sidewalk / Trail issues: 8 percent

Staff in Public Works and Municipal Enforcement Services have noticed an increase in reporting of issues since April. This increase has been attributed to the Spruce It Up app, as there has been little or no reduction in reporting of issues via other methods (phone, email and in-person). The Spruce It Up app seems to appeal to a group of residents who previously would not have reported issues to the City and who are now using the app to do so.

To date, residents have used Spruce It Up to report issues in a variety of ways: Web widgets (City website, City Facebook page, etc.): 34 percent Apple iPhone app: 33 percent Mobile web device (Blackberry, Windows phone): 18 percent Android app: 12 percent Other methods (See Click Fix website, City staff entries, etc.): 3 percent

Council had asked Administration to consider enabling residents to report garbage, recycle and organics pick-up issues, but this has not been undertaken due to the interactive nature of such inquiries, which require conversations between City staff and residents.

For more information on how to use the Spruce It Up app, visit the City website.

Story Tags:  ApplicationsOpen DataSt. Albert