Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Accessing The City of Calgary’s information and services has never been easier

Looking for City of Calgary information and services? You can find it anywhere, anytime, literally at your fingertips.

And, that’s exactly what you’ve been doing.

In 2012, more than 50 per cent of Calgarians used a mobile device to access the internet and clearly, this is going to keep increasing. The City also saw a considerable increase in access to all our digital channels this past year.

The improved mobile experience of calgary.ca attracted considerable interest; as a result, visits from mobile devices almost doubled last year. Traffic went from 12 per cent in Q4 of 2011 to 22 per cent for the same period in 2012.

Visits from a tablet more than tripled with a 240 per cent increase in visits to calgary.ca from Q4 2011 to Q4 2012.

The hub of our digital presence, calgary.ca, had an increase of 41 per cent of visits in the last quarter of 2012 compared to the same period last year. In 2011 there were 1.9 million visits to the site and in 2012 that number rose to 2.6 million.

“Improvements in our digital services are essential to achieving our goal of providing efficient and effective customer service for citizens and business users,” says Acting Director, Customer Service & Communications, Jacob George. “We watch trends, review citizen feedback, and research new and emerging technologies to provide you with information and services in the way you want to receive it.”

The City has several digital channels in place making it easy for you to find what you’re looking for. We have a Twitter account with more than 45,000 followers; a Facebook presence; a City YouTube channel with more than 1,200 videos; and, our City News blog. All these are easily accessible through calgary.ca by following the muti-media links located on the top right-hand corner of every page.

We currently offer six mobile applications, including the Road Conditions app, which was recognized with a Transforming Government stamp for its innovative way to share information with citizens where and when they need it.

In January 2013, The City of Calgary had two mobile applications in the Top 10 Free Navigation apps on iTunes (Road Conditions and myParking from the Calgary Parking Authority). Within three weeks of release, the Calgary Parking Authority app had been downloaded more than 13, 500 times.

In 2013 The City is looking at the development of up to 10 new mobile applications based on where we’re seeing the demand.

Our focus on creating a strong digital presence for The City recently paid off.

On Saturday, Dec.8 we were tested when one of the largest water main breaks ever experienced in the city shutdown Crowchild Trail, a major thoroughfare for commuters.

“Our challenge was to inform Calgarians that one of the busiest roads in Calgary was shut down before the Monday commute,” says Acting Manager Corporate Marketing &Communications, Robb Fergusson. “We used every available digital and traditional channel to communicate and reach as many citizens as possible.”

In addition to conventional media, The City provided real time blog updates, tweets, video updates, Facebook posts, emergency messaging on calgary.ca and, The City’s roads crew provided photos showing progress as it happened which was shared across our digital presence. When the road opened, The City placed digital signage along Crowchild Trail thanking citizens for their patience.

Mayor Nenshi commended City employees in a recent article to employees for their role in the crisis.

 “It’s worth noting that citizens noticed. My office has been flooded, not with complaints, but with compliments for how well The City communicated and how quickly the road was reopened.”
Not only were the citizens well informed, the media had plenty of information to keep commuters up-to-date on progress.

On Monday, Dec. 10, CBC ran an article, with a survey asking citizens if “The City did enough to keep you informed.” More than 66 per cent of you responded positively.

In addition to citizen satisfaction, The City has been recognized within the industry for its innovative and leading technological advances.

Just over one year since the launch of the new calgary.ca website, The City has received six awards, including “Project of the Year” and “Excellence in Public Service Delivery.” In addition to this, we have received four awards specific to our digital presence.

“We’ve seen a significant shift in how citizens are accessing City information and services over the past year. As technology advances, The City will continue to be leaders in implementing new and innovative ways to communicate to the public,” adds George.

Onward/We respond to citizens’ preferences on how they would like to receive information and connect with The City. | Sustainability Direction: By 2020, The City's communication and engagement opportunities will be available in multiple formats, channels and languages.

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