The Center for Digital Government (CDG) today announced the winners of the 2016 Digital Cities Survey. Now in its 15th anniversary year, the annual survey recognizes cities using technology to improve citizen services, enhance transparency and encourage citizen engagement. Seattle held steady at fourth place, the ranking it also received last year.
Seattle Information Technology (Seattle IT) was recognized for its recent consolidation. The new department is made up of 650 staff members that once worked across 15 city agencies and aims to create efficiencies and capacity for tech projects.
Other accomplishments include: the launch of a mobile-responsive website, a customer relationship management system to improve communications with residents and a data analytics platform for the police department. Efforts to work with the city’s tech community include the hiring of a civic technology advocate to engage with those individuals, a Hack the Commute program that developed prototype apps to help solve transportation issues, and a partnership with Code for America on the development of a crisis intervention app to connect people in need with social services.
In addition, an in-house innovation team is working on data-driven solutions to challenges in Seattle. While an open data program has been in place since 2010, the city’s “open by preference” policy was signed in February and calls on department heads to name “open data champions” to spearhead the release of information. And for monitoring IT performance, Seattle developed TechStat, which is modeled off programs like the New York City Police Department’s CompStat, to facilitate internal transparency and monitor metrics for operations and projects.