Citizens become accessibility watchdogs

1 Nov 2007

Armed with just a mobile phone with integrated camera, Dublin’s citizens will soon be able to snap pictures of wheelchair-unfriendly pavements which will then be sent straight to City Council and logged as a report.

John Donovan, head of innovation at Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and project manager for ICiNG (Innovative Cities of the Next Generation) which is rolling out this pilot scheme, says that in essence this will be an ‘issue tracker’ where the report begins with a citizen on the street and automatically becomes a job number for the city council to deal with.

The person who reports the complaint will be able to track the progress of the accessibility-unfriendly pavement and will be notified as soon as the job is completed.

This pilot scheme is part of a series of projects designed to enable the ‘e-citizen’ through accessible technology such as mobile phones and Dublin City Council (DCC) along with DIT are focusing on using this in the regeneration efforts in the Grangegorman area.

Dublin residents taking part in such projects need only download some software onto their phone for the system to work.

This citizen alert platform could also be extended to create community groups said Donovan. For example, one idea that people from the Grangegorman area came up with was using it to share video documentaries of how the area was developing among community groups like specific apartment blocks.

Details of the case studies, including the issue tracker for wheelchair accessibility, will be presented at the Cities of Knowledge conference held in Dublin on 20 November, with rollout of these pilots expected to begin in March of next year.

By Marie Boran