Counties Use Pokémon GO To Attract Citizens To Local Services

A National Association of Counties (NACo) County News article (2016-08-08) described how several counties, including Baltimore County, Maryland, are leveraging the Pokémon GO craze to attract citizens to local services, including libraries, voter registration, and transit use.

The article reported on how Baltimore County  Public Library (BCPL) branches used Pokémon GO to get people to their local libraries:

“The goal of it really was to capitalize on the phenomenon,” said Julie Brophy, BCPL’s adult services director, “and also to try to reintroduce the library to people who may not have been to see us in a while.” …

Over the course of about four hours on July 22, Brophy estimates that about 800 people participated, ranging in age from teens to middle-agers.

In Arkansas, Craighead County Clerk Kade Holliday used Pokémon GO to increase voter registration among young adults:

But [Holliday] said that 18 to 24 year-olds are underrepresented (60 percent registered) compared to other voting-age demographic groups, 80-plus percent of whom are registered. …

Holliday had been playing Pokémon Go himself. He had seen how a local mall had attracted scores of people playing the game before he got the idea for a PokéStop Voter Registration Drive at the County Courthouse, held on July 23. …

“We had 10 new people register to vote, and I’ll say probably 25 or 30 people who came by and actually changed different little things on their registration — like updated their address and things like that, so that helps clean up data as well,” Holliday said.

A Pokéball – Used to Capture and Hold Pokémon (Source: NACo County News)

Finally, the article discussed how Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro) public information officer Anna Chen used the augmented reality mobile application to encourage people to use and learn about the Metro transit system and increase public safety awareness around transit vehicles:

“It’s a new game, so we thought it would really be kind of fun to join them and join this developing community,” Chen said.

Metro has also used social media to warn game players to be alert while hunting Pokémons, especially around transit vehicles.

For three hours on July 31, five stations on Metro’s Gold Line were part of a Pokémon GO Gold Line Takeover.

The fiercest Pokemon hunter was eligible to win a 30-day Metro pass.

Learn more about how Maryland counties are responding to the Pokémon GO phenomenon by attending the “Gotta Catch ‘Em All: Pokémon GO & the Public” panel  at the 2016 MACo Summer Conference.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference: