Austin larry

A Fast-Growing City Takes Planning

Austin, Texas is a growing, progressive city of more than 900,000 people that is consistently looking for new ways to get the public involved and active in local political decisions.

Larry Schooler, a community engagement consultant for the City of Austin, thought that the televised Town Hall meetings were a significant opportunity to do just that.

The city wanted to solicit feedback from the general public watching televised meetings on ATXN: the City’s government access television station and web stream. They used Poll Everywhere to make the program interactive.

Empowering Citizens

Not everyone had the time or means to make it out to Town Hall meetings, but it was a safe bet that those who faithfully tuned into the televised version had a desire to get involved. Schooler aimed to reach out and empower these residents: “We televise the meeting and use Poll Everywhere to let people participate from home.”

By enabling viewers to text in live responses to polls, Schooler was able to gather instant feedback from not only people in the room, but people across the entire city.By enabling viewers to text in live responses to polls, Schooler was able to gather instant feedback from not only people in the room, but people across the entire city.

Community Involvement

“It’s a powerful application for getting people involved,” remarked Schooler on the impact of using the polling software. Bringing City Hall to the people, using broadcast television and real time, easy-to-use polling, got citizens involved in decisions that impacted them locally. It helped them decide where to focus their efforts on solving the traffic congestion problem:

Austin citizens have become so involved with the program that Schooler sometimes gets recognized for his broadcast work at his neighborhood coffee shop. It turned out that getting the community involved was as easy as letting them answer important questions from the comfort of their own homes.


Austin transit

AND learn how people would use the newly built traffic infrastructure:


Austin word cloud

How can you do this?

Step 1

Broadcast City Hall Meetings what need citizen involved in the discussion using television or webcasting services like www.ustream.tv . Let citizens know that they can provide their input in the city is making decisions right from home/work.

Step 2

Create polls to solicit citizen feedback. Use Multiple Choice Polls to get feedback on choices and Open Ended Polls for ideas and questions people have. Allow people to respond via SMS and Web.

Step 3

Broadcast the poll’s chart that shows the voting instructions and live results so citizens can provide input. Set aside some time during the meeting to allow citizens to vote.

Step 4

Factor the citizen’s input when making decisions.

Back to gallery

Sound good? Sign up for your free account

It’s free as long as you like. Upgrade whenever you want more. See our plans.