The city of Boston is piloting a Web and mobile app that lets citizens track their permit applications online. This is the latest move in a nationwide trend to make government operations accessible by phone or tablet.
The app called Permit Finder could free city employees from having to respond to the 30 to 40 permit status-related calls they receive each week. For some, that means they could spend more time reviewing architectural drawings and construction plans instead of responding to inquiries.
Boston was able deploy the app about three months after the prototype was designed because its permitting database is electronic and mostly automated. When permit applicants enter their building- or business-permit number, the app reports on the status of their request and includes contact information for the city employee handling it.