Mobile-First Survey Technology

DVmobile Smart Survey technology enables municipalities to engage the public more easily-where they are. We can deploy any type of survey electronically as a downloadable device independent mobile app.  The mobile friendly survey is "smart" because it can capture location data and other information automatically, increasing results accuracy, reducing administration cost, saving paper and significantly enhancing the user experience and participation.

People want their voices heard, but don't want to spend too much time or effort doing it - Smart Survey provides a solution for today's busy citizens.

Surveys of public opinion are used across the world for many reasons, from estimating election results to citizen report cards. While survey results are reported and shared with the public, they are also used to help make planning and policy decisions about public service delivery, such as transportation—including roads, bus routes, bike paths, and walkways.

According to National Research Center Inc. (NRC), more than half of the surveys conducted in the public sector are still done on paper, and manually collected and analyzed.  The cost for paper and manual processing is increasing, and frankly is not environmentally responsible, considering the automated online tools available.

Why Smart Surveys work

Typical online surveys usually do not differ from the paper version. The focus has been on ease of creation and transition from paper vs. the end-user experience and capturing valuable citizen feedback.

“Smart Survey technology enables you to meet your citizens where they are.”

Smart Surveys go beyond that and challenge the status quo. They focus on making the user experience easier, while leveraging recent mobile technologies to capture valuable data automatically.


The structure of a Survey is re-imagined for a mobile User Experience. Smart Surveys automatically collect data, which reduces the dependency on asking questions to the user for collecting information. Valuable data that is time-dependent such as that related to specific dates or hours is easy to collect as mobile online survey takers don't have to take responsibility for it. Data can be collected and ordered in a way that it integrates perfectly with the analysis and post-processing systems, eliminating the need for manual correction or preparation.


Mobile survey case study: Transportation Planning

The City of Boulder, Colorado is the leader in public transportation planning and Smart Surveys. They have a Transportation Master Plan, for which collection of citizen behavior data over the course of years is fundamental. DVmobile won an RFP for this important initiative for the following reasons:

  1. We understood the needs and requirements better than anyone else.
  2. Our Design expertise was outstanding, demonstrating a great User Experience.
  3. Our Mobile expertise and understanding of how to apply it to real-world problems.

DVmobile has become a strategic partner for the City of Boulder Transportation Planning Department. We have delivered the first of multiple planned reusable Smart Surveys, with very high appreciation. For the first time in more than 20 years, the City of Boulder Travel Diary Survey is now a Smart Survey. DVmobile worked closely with National Research Center Inc. (NRC) to ensure the new data captured was compatible and corresponded with historical survey data. Citizens can get involved and actively contribute to their City planning in a way that fits with their lifestyle.

Benefits for Transportation Planning

The following are a few of the benefits that have been realized to-date.  Additional features and benefits are expected in future releases.

  • Reduced cost.  “We expect to reduce costs over time.  Paper survey processing and analysis is expensive.”
  • Real-time monitoring and tracking of participation.  “Being able to monitor participation levels across platform and also knowing where they are getting stuck in the process is invaluable.”
  • Automatic location entry and tracking.  “Not having to enter addresses makes it so easy.”
  • Reusable.  “Now that I know and have the app, I won’t mind doing another survey, because it’s easy.”

Application: Citizen Involvement

Survey results give information on what is working and what is not. The cost of not getting this feedback and evaluating how services affect citizens far outweighs the cost of conducting surveys.  The challenge is conducting surveys in a way that engages citizens, rather than frustrating or alienating them.

Citizen Involvement is about improving community and quality of life.  “It’s not just a survey, it’s an ongoing community connection.” Implementing mobile survey best practices supports this connection.

There are all kinds of community apps emerging, including neighborhood apps like Nextdoor.  These applications are creating connections that would not happen otherwise, and they are making communities safer because of it.

Smart Surveys enable municipalities and governments to connect with their citizens in a new way that provides value for both parties. Mobile survey advantages include:

  • Increased citizen involvement.  Activities and information made available via a Citizen App is more accessible to a growing population of young people who are connected with their mobile devices.
  • Proactive notifications.  Citizens can receive proactive notifications about issues and activities that they are interested in.
  • ROI on Gamification.  Assuming the user experience is designed to be engaging and fun, more feedback and value can be gained because they like being involved and it’s enjoyable and informative.

Case study

Read more about DVmobile's Smart Survey solution for the City of Boulder.

“The City of Boulder’s Transportation Division hired DVmobile through a competitive bid process to design a smart phone application to collect travel behavior data from city residents.  The data is used to measure the City’s progress in meeting our transportation and greenhouse gas emission goals.  On a tight budget and even tighter timeframe, DVmobile delivered an application that met the City’s needs and provided a valuable new way of collecting data.  Based on this first application and our experience working DVmobile’s high performing staff, the City has committed to a long-term relationship with DVmobile to create new versions of the application for other survey needs.”

— Chris Hagelin, Senior Transportation Planner for the City of Boulder, Colorado