TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taipei City has been promoting a convenience-driven Neighborhood Digital Construction system since October, enabling citizens to access municipal services via ID cards or National Health Insurance (NHI) cards.
The Taipei City Government has been striving to enhance its smart city blueprint while ensuring every citizen, especially those in vulnerable groups or the elderly, have been included in the city’s digital rollout.
As a world-leading smart city, Taipei also developed TaipeiPass, an award-winning application billed as a one-stop portal for up to 80% of municipal services. However, this solution requires possession of devices, which poses a problem for digitally challenged groups.
To make the digital transformation smoother, the city government has built the new system as an alternative.
Fang Ying-Tsu (方英祖), the chief of the Local Governance Division at the Taipei City Government Department of Civil Affairs, told Taiwan News that to boost municipal service quality and help the city government’s ranks and file enhance their work efficiency, paperwork is being replaced with the new system to save time and reduce the carbon footprint.
Meanwhile, those less familiar with smart devices can simply verify their identities, acquire supplies, and register for events regardless of the digital divide.
The system was designed to require the least effort for people who are not digitally savvy, according to the director of the Digital Innovation Center at the Department of Information Technology, Chang Yung-ching (張永青).
Chang further elaborated that borough offices only need easy-access smart devices, such as tablets and card readers, to upgrade their administrative work, while residents can take their ID cards, NHI cards, or even a registered Taipei EasyCard (悠遊卡) as a digital proof for municipal services or to acquire supplies or register for an event.
The newly constructed system was established as part of the city’s contactless services as well as to be a smart COVID-19 containment measure. Time-consuming activities, such as waiting in line, can be simplified by scanning ID cards, Fang said.
A total of 19 out of 456 boroughs in the capital have volunteered for the trial operation of the new system. The majority of borough chiefs consider it a positive addition and think that it should be applied to the whole city.
In September, 215 boroughs out of 12 administrative units joined an expansion of the trial operation, according to Fang. He said that the digital system now provides two main services — distribution of supplies as well as event registration.
“The city government will keep streamlining and upgrading,” he said. For example, system will soon incorporate vaccine appointments, including for the influenza and hepatitis B vaccines.
"It's a two-stage digital transformation," Chang said, adding that with face-to-face service in borough offices, the digitally disadvantaged can use ID cards to apply for smart services with less pressure.