Winston-Salem was ranked No. 1 in the center’s 2014 Digital Cities Survey of cities with a population of 125,000 to 249,999. The annual study ranks the use of information technology by local governments.
The 2014 survey ranked cities for their use of digital technology in the areas of citizen engagement, policy, operations, and technology and data, said Todd Sander, the center’s executive director. “This year’s Digital Cities’ winners brought about impressive change across all aspects of government by leveraging information technology investments to expand open government, citizen participation and shared services,” Sander said.
Through the city website, Winston-Salem residents have access to crime tracking data updated daily, internal performance measures, and financial data that allows citizens to track city spending down to individual vendor transactions. A new citizen notification system allows residents to sign up for alerts by text, voice, or email; and the city is cooperating with AT&T to build an all-fiber network with speeds up to 1 gigabit per second.
Internally, the city has expanded the use of customized applications for mobile devices, such as a GIS-based, GPS-enabled application that allows city workers, while they travel about the city, to grade street health as part of a system that prioritizes paving projects. These applications have reduced the need for expensive laptops and allow staff to work independent of location, enabling more efficient operations and greater productivity.
Winston-Salem has ranked in the top 10 of the center’s annual survey every year since 2002, ranging from second place in 2003, 2008 and 2011, to tenth place in 2002, the first year the city participated.
Dennis Newman, the city’s chief information officer, attributed the city’s consistent rankings in the Digital Cities survey to the city’s ongoing investment in core information technology skills and infrastructure. “This has allowed us to take advantage of technologies when the opportunity arises so that we can provide a high level of services," he said.
Sander said, “It’s not surprising that the city of Winston-Salem has been ranked in the Top Ten Digital Cities every year since 2002. They’ve done an outstanding job of building a sound technology infrastructure under the leadership of CIO Dennis Newman, and then consistently built on that investment with new applications and services that strengthen city functions, which translates into citizen benefits.”
The rankings were compiled by the e.Republic Center for Digital Government, a national research and advisory institute. Three other North Carolina cities were also ranked: Greenville tied for second among cities with a population of 75,000 to 124,999; Durham tied for fourth among cities with a population of 125,000 to 249,999; and Raleigh tied for fifth among cities with a population of 250,000 or more."
- A Press Release