Service Request Intake Process

Service requests can be submitted to NYC311 in one of three ways: by dialing 311, online on the NYC311 website, or via the NYC311 mobile app. The three separate processes are outlined below. The method by which a service request was submitted is specified in the open_data_channel_type column in the data. The status of a request may also be checked through any of these methods.

It is important to be aware that different people may be more likely to utilize a particular method to submit their requests. This can be analyzed using the open_data_channel_type field, which NYC311 made available in April 2018 in response to user feedback. 

An additional consideration is that though a lot of the information available about service requests is provided automatically by the system, it is based on inputs provided by the person submitting a request. As such, it is important to remember that all the information is susceptible to human error. Furthermore, different intake methods may result in different inputs even for the same type of request because of the manner in which the information is collected. For example, both the app and website provide the user with a menu of possible requests but the latter is much more extensive than the former. 

Phone Call

Service requests submitted by phone are handled by both an automated system and a human operator.

  1. The caller dials 311
  2. A message plays informing caller to call 911 for an emergency
  3. A message plays regarding alternate side parking and parking meters
  4. The caller hears a language selection menu and is instructed to press the number corresponding to their preferred language
  5. The caller is instructed to briefly state their request; examples are provided
  6. Based on the caller's statement, one of the  following happens:
    • The caller is transferred to a 311 operator
    • The automated system requests more information about the request and/or its location before transferring the caller to a 311 operator
      • For example, if a caller says "trash pickup," they will be asked if they would like to know about the schedule
    • The automated system provides information addressing the request before transferring the caller to a 311 operator
      • For example, if a caller says "property taxes," the system will provide information about the next payment due dates, where to find information online, and other additional information.
  7. The operator uses the NYC311 internal system and a given script to:
    • Ask for more information about the caller's request
      • The operator than selects a pre-defined complaint_type based on this information
    • Ask for an address or intersection and the borough
      • If the system cannot locate the address, the operator may use the city's geocoder
    • Provide information addressing the request (if applicable)
    • Submit the request and provide the caller with a request number so they can keep track of their request as it is addressed by the proper city agency.

Mobile App

  1. The user opens the NYC311 mobile app
  2. The user selects "Request" at the center-bottom of their screen
  3. The user selects the type of request they have from a list
    • Some requests will prompt a pop-up informing the user to call 911 in case of an emergency. The user must select "Cancel" or "Continue"
  4. Based on the type of request, the user is prompted to select, verify, and enter additional information about the request and its location
    • The user may also submit a photo for some types of requests
    • The user also has the option of providing contact information
      • However this is required for complaints regarding taxis
  5. Once all required information is entered, the user selects "Submit" in the top-right corner of their screen.
  6. The user is provided with a request number which they can use to track the status of their request. There is a "Status" button next to the "Request" button in the app.


  1. The user selects "Make a Complaint" from the lefthand sidebar
    • Alternatively, the user can select one of the ten categories displayed at the center of the page, which will take the user to a NYC Resources page where they can find more options.
  2. The user selects from a dropdown menu one of seven topics they would like help with
  3. The user selects a more specific request topic from a new dropdown which appears
    • If the user selects "Other," they are provided with links to more information and resources in a window on the right. One of these will take the user to the same NYC Resources page
  4. The window on the right displays some information, links to report a specific issue, and links for more information
  5. Depending on the type of issue the user is reporting, they may be taken to the general NYC311 intake form or to a form on the website of the responsible agency
  6. On the general form the user is prompted to enter more information about their request, its location, and when the issue was observed. Similar information is requested from the individual agencies
    • If the user enters an invalid location, they will be prompted to reenter the information until the system recognizes it
    • The user also has the option of providing contact information.
  7. The user can review the information they have provided, and has the option of uploading up to three audio, image, text, or video files
  8. The user submits the request and is provided with a request number to track the status of their request.

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