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Research Report

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Non-emergency constituent phone service (also known as “311”) is a growing nationwide trend among municipalities looking to provide more efficient services and improve communications with their citizens. According to an ICMA report, about 15% already use such a system, and another quarter are considering one. As an example of 311’s effectiveness, 43% of local governments reported a significant decrease in non-emergency 911 calls following implementation of a centralized customer service system.

In Massachusetts, 311 is just starting to gain popularity. It currently exists in at least five places (i.e., the cities of Somerville, Springfield, Boston and Worcester; and Dukes County), and there numerous others considering it.

The following provides a very brief overview of this service in the Commonwealth, as well as country-wide information from ICMA studies (International City/County Management Association) on the matter.



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