As East Baton Rouge Parish looks to improve its 311 municipal delivery services following an influx of resident complaints about inconsistent trash collection, Governing reports recent academic studies show 311 response times roughly the same regardless of neighborhood wealth.
Brian Hamel and Derek Holliday, a pair of UCLA graduate students, examined more than 6 million 311 calls from seven major cities, including Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles. They found that a 1% increase in neighborhood income led to an average decrease of just 0.16 days in the length of time before a problem was resolved. When comparing how fast cities responded to the same complaints coming from different neighborhoods, they found a faster response in poor neighborhoods for many types of calls.
Hamel and Holliday’s findings are in line with an earlier study completed in Washington D.C. over the course of a decade, which saw response times between neighborhoods dwindle to nearly nothing.
Another study completed in New York in 2017, however, found a stark difference in the users of 311. Neighborhoods with higher proportions of unmarried, minority and unemployed residents tend to underreport problems.