The Center on Municipal Government Performance's Computerized Neighborhood Environment Tracking program or ComNET grew out of focus group research that revealed that people's judgments about city government performance often are determined by the conditions they observe on city streets. Capturing information about street level conditions and reporting the information to the many government agencies involved in, for example, rubbish collection, traffic and street light maintenance, tree planting, graffiti and abandoned car removal, rodent control and pothole repairs has always been a time consuming and daunting task for community members. Furthermore, government is not organized in such a way, nor are there sufficient resources for it to inspect streets for all street conditions on a regular basis. The Center on Municipal Government Performance has met this need by creating what has become a highly successful, much heralded and widely adopted program.
ComNET advances civic engagement. It introduces easily operated handheld computers to community organizations so that troublesome street level conditions can be recorded and tabulated quickly, easily and accurately. Then reports are produced electronically for the government agencies and other organizations that are responsible for correcting the problems. Community representatives track how conditions change over time.