IMPROVED ENFORCEMENT SERVICES WITH NEW MOBILE APP
For a city to have more bicycles than people, means less pollution, fewer traffic fatalities and a fitter population. Yet in the City of The Hague, with an estimated 1.1 bicycles for every resident, it also means that some bikes will turn up abandoned, wrecked, or parked in a random spot rather than stored properly on one of the city’s many public bike racks. Using a mobile app created with the Pegasus InfoCorp’s mobile app development platform, the city has reduced the administrative work associated with ticketing and removing nuisance bikes by 90% while improving the quality of the process.
The governments recognize importance of mobile apps in modernizing the delivery of services and they had previously created several apps for BlackBerry and Windows Mobile devices. By creating the bicycle violation app on the Mobility Platform, they demonstrated they could create and improve apps more quickly, while preserving the flexibility to deliver the same functionality on multiple mobile operating systems. The city is applying the same technique to a similar app for tracking wrecks, caravans, campers and trailers abandoned on city streets, currently under development. Bicycles are incredibly popular throughout country, partly as the result of a social movement started in the 1970s aimed at promoting bicycling as a safer, cleaner mode of transportation. Wide bicycle lanes are everywhere – an estimated 35,000 km of them nationwide – and it’s not uncommon for city streets to be closed to automobile traffic. On average, citizens bicycle nearly 3 km per day and 90% of children ride their bikes to school. Within major cities, up to 70% of all trips take place by bike. The city is a source of national pride as the seat of parliament and home to the royal family. Known as the international city of peace and justice, it is home to multiple United Nations institutions working to establish a peaceful world in which conflicts are settled in the courtroom, rather than on the battlefield. City officials want residents to be proud and visitors to be impressed by the beauty of the city, with its historic buildings and shops, just a short walk from the beach.
The goal was to make work much easier and more efficient, giving us fewer administrative tasks to perform. With the new process, they accomplish the same goals with only about 10% of the administrative work that was required previously.
Depending on how much of a public nuisance an errant bike is, enforcement officers apply different colored tickets associated with specific workflows. Where there is a clear violation, a bicycle may be removed with a 30-minute warning. On the other hand, if a bicycle is legally parked but suspected of being abandoned, it will be tagged with a 28-day warning. After that, an enforcement officer issues a final 2-day warning before the bike is impounded. Owners then have a few weeks to reclaim their bikes before they are sold or destroyed. When the city relied solely on paper tickets, windy, rainy weather often meant the tags were unreadable or missing when an enforcement officer returned to check a location. With the mobile app, the enforcement officer scans a barcode on the tag and photographs the bike. The app automatically records its location and sends all this data to a central database, which registers a violation.
The city had deployed several previous apps, including one used for automotive parking violations, based on the Windows operating system. This time, it wanted to reexamine its options. The bicycle enforcement app went live on Android devices, but the city retains the flexibility to deploy it on iOS, Windows, BlackBerry, or other mobile platforms as needed. The recommendation to use Pegasus InfoCorp’s mobile application development platform came from a digital consulting firm that works with the city.
Developers and designers can model and demonstrate applications before any code is written, eliminating 70% of defects associated with user interface. Developers then use a studio to translate that model into working code for one or more mobile operating systems. Overall, this shaves 40 to 60 percent off the total cost of ownership required for developing native mobile apps for multiple operating systems and cuts time to market by 50 to 70 percent. While the bicycle control app incorporates a workflow engine sophisticated enough to handle every situation, the developers made it simple to use. It includes just three screens – one for applying labels to bikes, one for updating the status of a previously recorded violation and an overview screen for looking up any bike in the system. The user interface adapts to each step of the process.
Instead of fumbling between handwritten notes and a camera, he can record everything with one device – scanning the barcoded label, taking a picture and adding any additional notes. The mobile app has also simplified the whole process from the initial violation capture all the way to the back-end office system.