Survey: U.S. Cities Using Innovative Technologies to Increase Transparency, Engagement and Cybersecurity

Sacramento, Calif., – Nov. 3, 2015 – The Center for Digital Government (CDG) today announced the winners of the 2015 Digital Cities Survey. The annual survey recognizes leading examples of cities using technology to improve services and boost efficiencies.

Now in its 15th year, the Digital Cities Survey is part of the Center for Digital Government’s Digital Communities program, which focuses on collaboration among cities, counties and regions. Open to all U.S. cities, the survey focuses on ten initiatives across four categories: citizen engagement, policy, operations, and technology and data. Responses are reviewed and judged based on a set of criteria and how well the cities implemented these services across the entire city. 

“The top-ranked digital city governments in this year’s survey are using cloud services, data analytics and mobile apps—among other technologies—to help citizens interact with government more easily than ever before,” said Todd Sander, executive director of the Center for Digital Government. “These cities are true innovators and we applaud their efforts to increase transparency and open government, encourage citizen participation, and enhance cybersecurity. Congratulations to the winners!”    

The survey honors cities in four population classifications: 250,000 or more; 125,000 to 249,999; 75,000 to 124,999 and fewer than 75,000. See the complete list of winners. 

Here’s a look at this year’s first-place winners: 

  • Philadelphia, Pa.’s new "infrastructure of innovation" culture encourages all departments to be more innovative and creative in providing new technology for civic apps, data analytics and to help underserved populations.  The city’s Innovation Lab provides a city-owned space for multi-department technology development and encourages collaboration with both high schools and universities to mentor students and increase participation in STEM-related education. 
  • Alexandria, Va.—a top 10 winner since 2005—upgraded its network security to protect against cyber attacks and increased broadband speed from 1 gigabit to 10 gigabits per second. New offerings include WiFi in City Hall for residents and businesses and an automated, cloud-based website failover solution to keep the site up even during network outages and extreme traffic increases during natural disasters. 
  • Avondale, Ariz.—a first-place winner for three consecutive years—received national recognition this year for its IT governance model, cloud-based disaster recovery and pragmatic approach to cybersecurity.  Avondale participates with other local governments in the OpenBooks transparency initiative that provides access to financial expenditure information for 20 cities within the state. Nearly 87% of citizens in a recent resident satisfaction survey gave Avondale’s municipal services a “Good to Excellent” rating.
  • Shawnee, Kan.—which leaped into the top spot after a seventh-place ranking last year—demonstrates big city transparency and engagement in a small town environment with “Shawnee Connect,” a new community portal and mobile app that helps neighborhoods self-organize around critical issues and provides details and mapping of all 311 reports for 19 service request categories—from pot holes to construction permits.

CLICK HERE for information on the top 10 ranked cities that will be honored at a special awards ceremony during the National League of Cities’ annual conference in Nashville November 5th.

CDG thanks the underwriters for this year’s survey: Accela, Dell Software and Laserfiche. 

About the Center for Digital Government
 
The Center for Digital Government is a national research and advisory institute focused on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government. CDG is a division of e.Republic, the nation’s only media and research company focused exclusively on state and local government and education.
 
 
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