The Center for Digital Government (CDG) has announced the winners of the 2019 Digital Cities Survey. Now in its 19th year, the purpose of the survey is to provide an annual recognition of city performance and innovation in using technology to align with city goals; promote citizen inclusion in important government processes and share government data with the public; proactively address citizen expectations; and boost cybersecurity and increase efficiency. The City of Lynchburg has received First Place in its population category (75,000 – 124,999). This is the 16th consecutive year the City of Lynchburg has been in the national top 10 and the fourth time it has been ranked first in its population category.
“The top Digital Cities this year are taking the IT Department far beyond the role of service provider,” said Phil Bertolini, Co-Director of CDG. “They’re exploring creative ways to leverage their technology investments and redefining the role of the public-sector technology leader at the city level.”
“We are very honored to be recognized as a national leader here in Lynchburg for our use of information technology to serve our citizens and to improve the efficiency of local government operations,” said Mike Goetz, Lynchburg Chief Information Officer. “We have a long tradition in this regard, and in the last year, we have placed special emphasis in three areas: expanding the use of mobile technologies; increasing the resiliency of the City’s IT infrastructure, especially regarding cybersecurity and disaster recovery; and enhancing the use of social media to connect with citizens.”
The Digital Cities award is based on ten key characteristics including:
• Leadership Alignment: Strategy and actions consistent with city priorities/policies
• Citizen-centric: Government Experience (Mobile, Engaged, Digital Services)
• Efficient: Data-driven
• Data Governance: Utilization of data
• Secure: Cybersecurity Measures/ Initiatives
• Resilient: Disaster Recovery/ Continuity of Operations
• Staffed/ Supported: Hiring and Retaining Competent IT Personnel
• Connected: Connected Infrastructure and Bridging the Divide
• Innovative: Innovative Initiatives and New Technologies
• Best Practices
Examples of some of Lynchburg’s accomplishments that supported the Digital Cities Award:
• Leadership Alignment: The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) team worked with the City’s Bridges to Progress initiative to provide data, maps, and analysis to support efforts to reduce poverty.
• Citizen Centric: The City has implemented and enhanced a fully-functional smartphone app for citizens to perform functions such as pay bills, submit issues for action, and to obtain a variety of community information.
• Efficient: Mobile technologies have been deployed in many of the City’s operating departments so that workers can access information and complete tasks in the field. Examples include building inspections, work orders for Public Works, and maintaining water utility asset information.
• Resiliency: GIS and mobile technologies assisted greatly in the response and damage assessment efforts connected to 2018’s tornado and breach of College Lake Dam. Damage assessment data was collected via mobile devices on-scene and quickly uploaded for cross-department communications. Flood inundation zones, as mapped in GIS, were used in the emergency response.
• Connected: Almost 100 City and Schools sites are now interconnected on a municipal fiber optic network. Also, in collaboration with the Downtown Renewal project, City-owned conduit is being placed underground as water lines are replaced. This conduit is intended for use by broadband service providers to more easily extend the reach of their services downtown.
• Innovative: An application called KnowMyZone was also created so individuals can quickly determine if an address is located in a flood inundation zone. Another example was the creation of the City-Wide Project Tracking System (CWPT). This is an internal data-sharing application used by all City departments to share information about City construction projects in order to coordinate efforts and to minimize the impact of construction on citizens and businesses.
The Center for Digital Government is a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government.
The Center is a division of e.Republic, the nation’s only media and research company focused exclusively on state and local government and education.