Courtbot was built with the city of Atlanta in partnership with the Atlanta Committee for Progress to simplify the process of resolving a traffic citation. After receiving a citation, people are often unsure of what to do next. Should they should appear in court, when should they appear, how much will the fine cost, or how can they contend the citation? The default is often to show up at the courthouse and wait in line for hours. Courbot allows the public to find out more information and pay their citations immediately via a text message.

Folks take off work, they arrange for child care, they head down to municipal court, to wait in a line. Imagine what it’s like standing in that line with bad weather, or when it’s windy out, or when you’ve cut it just close to make it to your 8am docket time. So, in Atlanta, you see folks show up for court, and stand in line.

— Ryan Shepard, Mayor's Office, City of Atlanta, GA

Courtbot is a simple web service for handling court case data. It offers a basic HTTP endpoint for integration with websites, and a set of advanced twilio workflows to handle text-based lookup.

Specifically, the Twilio features include:

  • A Payable Prompt. If a case can be paid immediately, the app offers a phone number and link to begin payment.
  • Reminders. If a case requires a court appearance, the app allows users to sign up for reminders, served 24 hours in advance of the case.
  • Queued Cases. If a case isn't in the system, the app allows users to get information when it becomes available. The app continues checking each day for up to 16 days and sends the case information when found (or an apology if not).