The Digital Cities Survey examined and assessed how city governments are utilizing information technology to operate and deliver quality service to their customers and citizens. The Survey documents recent trends and the progress made to date in the transition to digital government.
Results and Trend Analysis
Service-oriented, business-driven and cost-effective emerged as the key characteristics of city and consolidated city/county governments that participated in the 2004 Digital Cities Survey, an annual assessment by the Center for Digital Government of municipal government’s progress in the use of technology in service to the citizen. As Donald J. Borut, executive director of the National League of Cities (NLC), observes, “NLC is pleased to see that cities of all sizes in all parts of the country are improving the way government works by becoming digital. The Digital Cities Survey shows how widespread the effort is and how far we’ve come. The progress is all the more impressive given that it came during a really difficult fiscal crisis for cities. We hope that the survey results will also help cities plan more effectively in deciding where they can use limited taxpayer funds to get the greatest results when they take their next step.”
Mayors, chief information officers and city managers at over 300 of the United Stages’ cities were invited to participate. Officials responded to a set of 16 questions and ranked their jurisdictions according to a four-point scale, providing URLs and background data for final verification and validation. The survey grouped cities into four categories based on population: 250,000 or greater, 125,000-249,999, and 75,000-124,999,and 30,000-74,999.
The 16 questions are grouped into four sections:
1. Does the city have a Web site?
2. Are the meetings of the city council available electronically to the public?
3. Does the city provide an online citizen service area where constituents can request services, report problems or complain about services, and complete citizen satisfaction surveys about the city?
4. Does the city have online calendars, schedules or directories?
5. Does the city have privacy notices on its Web site?
DOING BUSINESS WITH CITY GOVERNMENTS
6. Does the city provide its frequently-used forms online?
7. Can city forms be completed and submitted online?
8. Can secure online payments be submitted along with completed forms for the following services?
9. Can the public apply for city jobs online?
PUBLIC SAFETY AND SAFE COMMUNITIES
10. Does your city have a direct link to citizen emergency preparedness information on its Web site?
11. How does your city law enforcement department use technology?
CITY IT GOVERNANCE AND CAPACITY
12. How is the city managing Web content?
13. Does the city have a strategic plan for deploying technology across city agencies and departments?
14. Does the city have a project review mechanism in place for initiating and overseeing IT investments and does it use a formal project management process for executing IT projects?
15. What is the status of the city’s architecture development?
16. What is the status of the city’s infrastructure?