Service Delivery Response Time: Lights Out
The average number of days it takes for the City of St. Louis to resolve reports of a single street light out
Residents in majority-white neighborhoods receive faster response times to complaints about street light outages than residents in majority-black neighborhoods.
A score of 100 represents racial equity, meaning there are no racial disparities in outcomes. The lower the Equity Score, the greater the disparity.
For Service Delivery Response Time, a score of 100 — a score reflecting racial equity — would mean residents of majority-black and majority-white neighborhoods receive similar response times for the same request. It is important to note that for this indicator, equity is not our only goal: we also want to improve outcomes for all.
What does this indicator measure?
Service Delivery Response Time measures the average number of days it takes for the City of St. Louis to resolve reports of a single street light out. We chose this type of service request because the steps to resolution should be relatively consistent. In 2016, there were 3,868 reports of a single street light out across the city, with an average response time of five days to resolve the issue.
Service Delivery Response Time: Lights Out analysis
Average response time to reports of a single street light out by neighborhood in St. Louis City.
|All||Majority- black||Majority- white||Disparity Ratio||Equity Score|
|Days between resident report and resolution of single street light outage||19,372||8,403||5,185||-||-|
|Number of service requests||3,868||1,629||1,139||-||-|
|Average response time (days)||5.0||5.2||4.6||1.133 to 1||79|
Data Source: City of St. Louis, 2016.
Date Note: There were 624 single street light requests for which we did not have neighborhood information, or 16% of all requests in this category. Analysis done in partnership with Andrew Arkills of Team TIF. Majority-status of neighborhoods calculated using American Community Survey 5-year estimates (2012-2016).
What does this analysis mean?
It takes the City of St. Louis 13% more time to respond to reports of a single street light out in majority-black neighborhoods than in majority-white neighborhoods. On average, it takes 5.2 days to resolve a report of a single street light out in majority-black neighborhoods, while it takes 4.6 days in majority-white neighborhoods. However, the longest average response time for street light repair is in no-majority neighborhoods (which includes areas like Downtown, Midtown, and Dutchtown) at 5.8 days.
|Neighborhood||# of reports|
|2. Central West End||203|
|4. Downtown West||114|
|1. Franz Park||21.5|
|2. Benton Park||14.3|
|3. Skinker DeBaliviere||9.7|
|4. Lafayette Square||9.3|
|5. Downtown West||8.9|
Why do Service Delivery Response Times matter?
Residents are able to report a vast array of issues through the Citizens Service Bureau and many of these issues constitute threats to public safety, from abandoned buildings to missing stop signs to darkened streets and sidewalks.
Service Delivery Response Times reflect the city’s ability to resolve resident complaints in a timely manner. Predictable and timely response times help to build citizen trust in city government and encourage continued reporting.
Which Calls to Action from the Ferguson Commission report are linked with this indicator?
While there are no direct calls to action related to municipal service delivery, the Commission report calls for local governments to support citizen-led efforts to:
Questions for further investigation
- Why is there racial disparity in Service Delivery Response Time?
- What can St. Louis do to reduce racial disparities in Service Delivery Response Time?
- What initiatives are currently underway to reduce racial disparities in Service Delivery Response Time?
How can I learn more about this issue?
St. Louis citizen-activist Andrew Arkills has mapped the frequency and response time to Citizens' Service Bureau requests related to the Traffic and Lighting Division at the neighborhood and ward levels for 2011-2018.
The City of Philadelphia conducted a racial disparity analysis of service delivery response time for their Licensing and Inspections Department.