What Mobile Apps Should Cary Pursue?

Story by Eric Brown from CaryTTF.com. Illustration by Hal Goodtree.

Cary, NC – Crime data. Greenways maps. Class schedules. There is an abundance of data out there, and the Technology Task Force is looking for ways to deliver it to Cary citizens via streamlined, easy-to-use mobile/web applications (aka, “apps”).

Do you have a ideas for apps that would improve your interaction with the Town of Cary? Let us know what you think.  Below are some ideas we’re looking into.  Suggest your own or comment on other posted ideas!

  • 311 app
  • Greenways mobile map (GPS aware)
  • Parks information
    • Mobile version of all public park information with the ability to schedule shelters, view calendar, receive park information alerts
  • Programs & classes (Parks & Rec)
    • Mobile version of current P&R web pages
  • Curbside services app
    • A mobile application that would provide information and alerts to Cary citizens about curbside services and disposal information/options for various household items (Trash pickup schedule, recycling pickup schedule, Christmas tree pickup schedule, leave pickup schedule, street sweeper schedule, text alerts for users, DPW vehicle locations, etc.)
  • White goods pickup Aap
    • A mobile application that would allow users to schedule a pickup of “white goods” items (e.g. appliances)
  • Cary calendar of events
    • Mobile version of existing Cary Calendar of Events web page with added ability to subscribe to email/text alerts to town noticies (traffic, weather, special messages, etc…)
  • POI (Cary points of interest app)
    • One or more mobile applications that provide users (citizens or visitors) with points of interest in Cary (public parking, restrooms, changing stations, parks, food, public wifi, bike racks, etc)
  • CTRAN
    • A mobile application that permits users to see the location of the CTRAN bus and allow seniors to schedule pick ups.
  • Citizen engagement apps
    • Applications that allows users (or the town) to make suggestions that the public can view, comment and show support by “up voting” specific entries. (Similar to MyStarbucksIdea.com)
  • Crime data
    • An application that displays block-level crime statistics

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9 replies
  1. Dean
    Dean says:

    Parks information, Programs & classes (Parks & Rec), Curbside services, White goods pickup, Cary calendar of events, CTran, Crime Data, general town information

    All of these would require the town to provide the information in a feed for an app to work. Or an HTTP call to retrieve the information. The data should already be in a town database, it would just be matter of providing it from a secure on-line source. i.e. export the data to a web server that hosts the services to provide the data.

    Instead of the town developing the apps, maybe they should just develop the feed/http call and let other people develop the apps. That way the apps aren’t limited to town budgets or resources.

    Citizen engagement apps
    If the Town provided business “pages” and let people search, map and review those business. I’m guessing all businesses have to be registered with the town at some point, so there should be an easy database to retrieve from. The owners could be given access to provide basic information like hours, phone and services.

  2. Bob
    Bob says:

    – traffic cameras
    – easy display of sports field cancellations during weather issues
    – map with links to planning & zoning issues

  3. Liz Adams
    Liz Adams says:

    Traffic Applications – Collect data and broadcast alerts using the Dynamic Message Signs in Cary. If traffic is backed up on I-40, the signs need to alert drivers, list the nearest park-n-ride with departure times for express bus routes to RTP, Chapel Hill, Durham and Raleigh.

  4. Erin
    Erin says:

    I think the first 3 are fantastic and are much needed as well as the POI and the Cary Calendar of Events. I think something dealing with traffic is a good one as well – around the city of Cary as well as traffic leading to Durham and Raleigh. It would be so helpful to look at real time traffic to find out which roads and/or highway to avoid around Cary.

  5. Brent
    Brent says:

    Honestly, I’m struggling with the reasons for developing most any of these or similar ones that might be postulated.

    Of the examples provided, many deal with largely static or seldom changing data. Most others seem to be easily achieved with a plain old browser or web app. A mobile app should have value above and beyond what I can already easily get from the web.

    It’s not hard to generate a long list of mobile apps that COULD be produced. It seems to me that the real question perhaps is which mobile apps SHOULD be produced to provide the most citizen value.

    Is there a demand for any mobile apps in Cary? Are lots of people clamoring for something? Perhaps the most useful mobile app at this point might be one that records demands and desires of mobile users in Cary (“I wish I had a…”).

    I think this question should be decided by “what the people want” rather than what theoretically could be produced. Moreover, as pointed out in a preceding comment, some of these already exist. We don’t need mobile apps just so that Cary can say it has mobile apps…we might or might not find out that Cary could improve citizen service with one or more mobile apps. If so, I hope that would become evident and would be demand-driven.

    • Brandon Smith
      Brandon Smith says:

      Brent.

      All good points. I don’t believe “mobile app” necessarily means a native app. In this case, I believe it means one that can be consumed/used on the go, however it is delivered.

  6. Steve Rebach
    Steve Rebach says:

    One of the goals of the Cary Town Council is to increase downtown foot traffic. Indeed, the same is the goal of downtown business. The Cary Art Loop is one way to bring folk to the Heart of Cary. One only has to visit downtown Raleigh on First Friday to see what kind of a boost the art scene adds to Raleigh from Moore Square to Glenwood South to the Warehouse District. Galleries are full, but so are the restaurants and all other establishments that are willing to stay open late.

    Perhaps a reinvigorated Final Friday can help guide Cary down a similar path. I would like to see the various Final Friday Art Loop venues shown on a Cary map that includes the Cary C-Tran routes and the Art Loop bus stops.

    I am aware that the Art Loop is “under new management” and I believe that adding a little modern day technology will reinforce that effort.

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