Thinstall Virtualization suite 3.1


For alternate uses, please see 311 (disambiguation).

The non-emergency telephone number 3-1-1 is a special N-1-1 telephone number in many communities in Canada and the United States that provides quick, easy-to-remember access to non-emergency municipal services or a Citizen Service Center. Dialing this number allows city residents (only in certain cities) to obtain important non-emergency services through a central, all-purpose phone number quickly and effectively.

3-1-1 is intended in part to divert routine inquiries and non-urgent community concerns from the emergency 9-1-1 number. A promotional website for 3-1-1 in Los Angeles described the distinction as follows: "Burning building? Call 9-1-1. Burning Question? Call 3-1-1."

  • 3-1-1 for Non-emergencies
  • 9-1-1 for Emergencies


Its first use for this purpose was in Baltimore, Maryland, where the service commenced on October 2, 1996. 3-1-1 is intended to connect callers to a call center that can be the same as the 9-1-1 call center, but with 3-1-1 calls assigned a secondary priority, answered only when no 9-1-1 calls are waiting. This system is intended to extend the system such that true emergency callers are answered quickly, without ringing or busy signals.

The largest 3-1-1 operation in service operates in New York City implemented by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2003.

The CRTC formally reserved the use of 3-1-1 for non-emergency municipal services throughout Canada on 5 November 2004. The first Canadian 3-1-1 service opened in Calgary, Alberta on 18 May 2005.

The 311 code was previously used by some telephone companies for testing purposes. In Alberta, 311 was the ANAC number until April 1 2005 when this was changed to 958-6111 to make way for the present 3-1-1 service.

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."


3-1-1 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 3-1-1:

  • illegal burning
  • suspicious persons
  • debris in roadway
  • minor injuries
  • non-working streetlamps & parking meters, etc.
  • noise complaints
  • local government inquiries


United States

3-1-1 is available in several major American cities, including: Akron, Albuquerque, Austin, Baltimore, Charlotte, Chattanooga, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Hartford, Houston, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Laredo, Little Rock,Louisville KY, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Mobile, Nashville, New York City, Rochester, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Francisco, San Jose, Somerville, and Washington, D.C..


The service is available in the following communities (with starting date):

Other Canadian municipalities are expected to implement 3-1-1 in the near future including Edmonton, Vancouver, Winnipeg and Toronto.


In Baltimore, 3-1-1 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 3-1-1 services without first installing CitiStat. CitiStat is essential infrastructure to record and re-direct the service request information received through the 3-1-1 systems.

While Baltimore was the first city to use 311 as a police non-emergency number, in January 1999 Chicago initiated the first comprehensive 3-1-1 system, by to providing information and tracking City services from intake to resolution, in addition to taking non-emergency police calls. When the new service was launched, information regarding all city services, service requests, assistance in reaching various city departments and public offices, and a variety of information ranging from information about the city's Blue Bag recycling program to special events schedules could be obtained by calling 3-1-1. This also supplanted the need to remember or find the number (312) 744-5000, which, until then, acted as a switching station for reaching various city departments and employees, as well as Chicago Police non-emergency (dialing this number today directs you to a 3-1-1 center operator from any area code). Since its launch, Chicago 3-1-1 has won numerous national awards, including the [Innovations in American Government Award]from the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government in 2003. In addition to providing seamless delivery of city services to residents, the call center serves as a backup to the City's 911 call center.

In New York City, 3-1-1 is used by city officials as one of several sources of measurement and information about the performance of city services. Important dates in the history of New York's 3-1-1 service include December 20, 2005, when it received its record high of 240,000 calls, due to the first day of the 2005 New York City transit strike, and June 20, 2007, when it received its 50 millionth call.

In San Francisco, 3-1-1 is the number for the City and County of San Francisco. It, like New York City, provides information for city services, such as transit information. San Francisco 3-1-1 was implemented in 2007 shortly after the launch of the T Third Street Muni light rail line.


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