and percent of customer service requests for vegetation maintenance in the
public right-of-way completed within 2 weeks
Public Works Department (PWD) personnel responded to 4,267 customer service requests (CSRs) received from 311 related to vegetation in fiscal year 2021. This represents an 11% increase from FY2020. We resolved 3,046 of these requests within 2 weeks.
When PWD receives vegetation-related CSRs from 311, they are prioritized on a scale from 2 to 5, with critical responses rated 5. PWD response goals for incidents are:
- Priority 2 (routine work) – 2 weeks
- Priority 3 (high priority) – 3 days
- Priority 4 (urgent) – 1 day
- Priority 5 (critical) – 1 day
Routine work incidents (Priority 2) frequently result in no problem found, or creation of a work order for either PWD crews or contractors. Higher priority incidents (Priorities 3-5) often can be resolved on initial response of an inspector or work crew; about one quarter of incidents require creation of a work order for PWD crews.
PWD is responsible for problems that occur in the public right-of-way. Many 311 calls are the result of issues on private property. In these cases, PWD personnel communicate with property owners to advise them of work to be done. If the owner is not responsive, PWD is authorized to perform the work to clear the ROW.
PWD tries to reduce the need for 311 calls through proactive work maintaining trees and vegetation in the right-of-way. The largest service is mowing 325 different locations on a 21-day cycle (it might vary a bit based on weather and contractor staffing). PWD crews conduct sidewalk inventories and assessments to ensure sidewalks are clear of vegetation and are accessible to all. Where needed, we work with property owners to help them make sure their plants and trees are clear, as well. Crews will check trees and trim them where necessary before street maintenance begins in order to ensure that there is enough clearance for the maintenance equipment.
Finally, the Forestry program is collecting tree inventory data. The inventory will help us understand and document the condition of the City’s green infrastructure, which we can then use to plan regular maintenance of the City’s tree cover. The data will help us manage tree disease and infestations such as Oak Wilt and Emerald Ash Borer. Life for trees in the right-of-way can be hard, especially as the trees get older and the City continues to develop. We want to maintain this important resource, particularly our big trees, in order to minimize the impacts of development and changes in the environment.
PWD response performance improved from 66% on time in FY2020 to 71% in FY2021. Much of this can be attributed to work done by PWD Forestry personnel to improve response processes. Additional work to improve data collection and management also contributed to the trend.
The department has set a target of addressing 75% of vegetation-related 311 requests within two weeks. This is because over two-thirds of 311 requests are classified as Priority 2 each year. Staffing levels are the primary constraint on timeliness of responses to 311 calls that do not involve a safety concern.
Note: To see the underlying data for this chart, please select the "View Source Data" link.
Additional Measure Insights
PWD responses to vegetation issues can be broken out several ways. Council Districts provide a readily accessible way to look at the City geographically. PWD uses Work Order Priorities based on criticality to determine which calls to handle first. Finally, there are two programs within PWD that respond to 311 calls for vegetation concerns, depending on when the call is received and the nature of the call.
From FY2020 to FY2021, CSR counts decreased across all council districts, and response performance improved. District 9 – the central business district – is the largest source of 311 calls for vegetation issues, with District 6 in North Austin providing the fewest.
Work Order Priority
As noted earlier, Priority 2 (Routine) work orders make up over two-thirds of 311 vegetation responses every year. PWD’s current goal is to close these CSRs within 2 weeks of their receipt; 62% of all Priority 2 work orders are closed within this time.
Most higher priority work orders are closed within two weeks. Process improvements are particularly evident in the Priority 3 work order performance.
The preponderance of Priority 2 work orders is the reason that the department has set a target of 75% compliance with the two-week closure period for this measure.
PWD Responding Program
Two different groups within PWD respond to 311 calls for vegetation issues. The bulk of these calls – 80% - are managed by the Forestry program within the department’s Community Services Division. Work groups within the District Maintenance Division handle the remainder. Most of the responses by District Maintenance crews take place outside normal business hours, and tend to involve more high priority CSRs than Forestry crews. Hence their higher response performance. Staffing issues in the Forestry program affects that program's ability to respond to service requests.
Measure Details and Definition
1) Definition: This measure shows the percentage of 311 customer service requests (CSRs) for vegetation-related issues in the right of way that are resolved within two weeks.
2) Calculation method: The count of CSRs resolved within two weeks is divided by the count of all CSRs received in the fiscal year. CSRs that do not have valid time stamps for call receipt and CSR resolution are excluded from this calculation.
3) Data Collection Process: Data is taken from the PWD Maximo work order management system. Crews enter response information into the system as work on their work orders is completed.
4) Measure Target Calculation: The target is calculated based on improving past performance and the high proportion of low-priority CSRs over the past two fiscal years.
5) Frequency Measure is Reported: Annually (Fiscal Year)
Date page was last updated: January 2022