From Academic Kids

Alternate uses: 311 (band)

In the United States, 3-1-1 is a non-emergency telephone number, meant to provide a quick, easy to remember, and universal alternative to 9-1-1. Its first use for this purpose was in Baltimore, Maryland, where the service commenced on October 2, 1996. 311 is intended to connect callers to a call center that can be the same as the 911 call center, but with 311 calls assigned a secondary priority, answered only when no emergency 911 calls are waiting. This system is intended to extend the system such that true emergency callers are answered quickly, without ringing or busy signals.

311 service is generally implemented at the local level, and in some cities it is also used for various municipal calls.

Examples of calls intended for 311:

  • illegal burning
  • suspicious persons
  • debris in roadway
  • minor injuries
  • non-working streetlamps
  • noise complaints


It has been implemented in some cities in the USA and has been licensed by the CRTC for implementation in Canada.

In the City of Baltimore, Md, it has been successful in dramatically reducing the cost of city services, but only in conjunction with that city's CitiStat service. Municipal officers of Baltimore do not recommend implementation of 311 services without first installing CitiStat. CitiStat is essential infrastructure to record and re-direct the service request information received through the 311 systems.

Steps to Implementation 311 Call Centre Services

  1. Set up an effective and complete City services web site.
  2. Include access to other levels of government through this web site.
  3. Use the web site to train call centre staffers
  4. Build call centre facilities or Virtual Call Centre
  5. Implement and open 311 call centre service.

As you can see above the 311 call centre services only supplement a general on-line accessibilty of local government, mainly to the decreasing portion of the population that does not have or cannot use the Web to access services. It is still, of course, a significant portion of the population.

There is still considerable discussion on whether 311 call centre services should be implemented using a standard "bricks and mortar" call centre building, or by using a virtual call centre (VCC). A virtual call centre involves using only a plain old telephone set (POTS) and an ordinary computer to provide the infrastructure needed for a call centre worker to work from either home or any office.

While implementation is still spotty, it has been assigned by the FCC for nationwide use, and it is likely that Canada and others in the NANP will adopt the standard as well. The CRTC has recently assigned this number as a municipal service. In Alberta, it used to be used as the ANAC number until April 1, 2005 when the ANAC was changed to 958-6111 in favour of the new allocation.

In former times, "311" was sometimes used as a fictitious area code in Bell System advertisements depicting telephones; often the phone in the advertisement would bear the specific number "Area Code 311 555-2368."

External link

N11 codes
2-1-1 | 3-1-1 | 4-1-1 | 5-1-1 | 6-1-1 | 7-1-1 | 8-1-1 | 9-1-1


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