A Great Idea: City Hall on Wheels

Boston is the first in the country to debut a truck to handle city services.

(Video via City of Boston)

The City of Boston is a little obsessed with trying out “innovative” ideas. Sometimes, those work: The Innovation District, for example, is flourishing. Other times, not so much: The Boston Moves for Health campaign—which had a goal of residents dropping a million pounds—is falling way short. That's the way an innovative institution works, though—launch a bunch of ideas, and see which ones work. Some won't, and that's okay.

If I had to bet, though, the new City Hall to Go—a truck capable of fulfilling a lot of city services—is going to be a rousing success, and frankly, a model for other cities. The new truck—a converted bomb squad vehicle—will circulate through city neighborhoods, and residents will be able to renew residential parking permits, pay parking tickets and property taxes, register to vote, and even request marriage certificates. (Granted, many of these services are available online, but not everyone has easy Internet access.) The Globe mentions that the truck “may offer evening and weekend hours as a convenience,” which would increase its impact even more.

Why will the truck work? Mostly because going to the physical City Hall is the worst. Hours confined just to the work week mean that it's extraordinarily tough for most people to get down there without taking the afternoon off. In a way, the traditional Hall is a stodgy old system that was just waiting to be replaced by a “disruptive technology“—so it's some smart work by the city to disrupt itself with an innovative new version.