BATON ROUGE, La. – Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome today announced that Baton Rouge has been named the fifth most digital city in the U.S. by the Center for Digital Government among cities with a population of 125,000 to 249,999. This distinction comes as the result of a competitive process that annually recognizes top-ranked cities demonstrating progress and capabilities across ten key characteristics of a digital city.
“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized in such a visible way among so many other leading digital cities in the nation,” said Mayor-President Broome. “Moving forward, my entire administration remains focused on and committed to identifying ways to invest in our digital infrastructure and create a more effective and efficient City-Parish government for our citizens – using technology and innovation wherever possible to do so.”
Other cities named to the Top 10 Digital City list within this population category – the third largest considered by the Center for Digital Government – include Cape Coral, Florida, Norfolk, Virginia, Scottsdale, Arizona, Pasadena, California, and Alexandria, Virginia, among others.
Several key technology and digital initiatives that have taken place in 2017 were instrumental in this ranking, including the significant progress made through the broad use of GIS and integration of GIS capabilities across all facets of City-Parish government; the City-Parish’s expanded partnership with Waze in collaboration with Louisiana State University to analyze real-time Waze traffic data; Mayor-President Broome’s expansion of the body camera program to the entire Baton Rouge Police Department force; and the implementation of a streamlined workflow management system to support more efficient and accountable service delivery across public works agencies. Other internal measures undertaken to improve government efficiency include the launch of an enterprise resource planning system to replace disparate 20-year-old systems and an internal analysis of telecommunications service utilization and contracts that resulted in achieving real-dollar savings of $200,000 over a 12-month period.
In addition, a number of related initiatives related to expanded use of technology within City-Parish government remain ongoing, such as an effort currently underway to redesign the City-Parish website with a mobile-first strategy for citizen engagement, a recently announced National Science Foundation research grant secured by Louisiana State University in collaboration with Mayor-President Broome to build research-driven solutions to issues such as blight and traffic, and efforts such as developing and adopting a formal open data policy and establishing data-based outcomes and performance metrics that continue to progress through the City-Parish’s partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies as part of the What Works Cities program.
“This year’s leading digital cities are leveraging technology to connect disadvantaged citizens with critical information and services, promote citizen inclusion in important government processes and share government data with the public,” said Teri Takai, executive director of the Center for Digital Government. “Thanks to the efforts of these innovative cities, citizens can now meaningfully interact with city government more easily than in any other time in history. Congratulations to the winners!”
For 17 years, the Digital Cities Survey has provided an annual measure of city performance and innovation in using technology by distributing a comprehensive survey to all U.S. cities, towns, villages, and consolidated city/county governments. All responses are then closely analyzed by a judging panel at the Center for Digital Government, looking for cities nationwide that align technologies with city goals in order to improve the interactive experience for citizens and others doing business with the city; to save tax dollars through newfound efficiencies; boost transparency, cybersecurity, and engagement; and innovate through unique and exciting projects.
All top-ranked cities will be recognized at an awards ceremony in Charlotte, North Carolina on Nov. 16 during the National League of Cities’ Annual Conference. For more information on the 2017 Digital Cities Survey and other 2017 award winners, visit the GovTech website.