Office of the Mayor-President


For release: IMMEDIATELY

Release Date: 11/10/2016

Baton Rouge named Top 10 Digital City in America for second consecutive year

For more information, contact:
Eric Romero, Department of Information Services: (225) 389-3070
Susan Boudreaux, Mayor’s Office: (225) 389-5101
Michelle McCalope, Mayor’s Office: (225) 389-7957

Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden announced today that Baton Rouge has been named a Top 10 Digital City for the second consecutive year, moving up the rankings from 10th overall in 2015 to 5th in 2016.

Each year, the Center for Digital Government recognizes leading cities across four population categories using technology to improve services and boost efficiencies with a focus on citizen engagement, policy, operations, and technology and data. Through a comprehensive Digital Cities Survey process in which surveys are distributed to all U.S. cities, towns, villages, and consolidated city/county governments, responding cities are then judged based on various criteria related to the prior year’s accomplishments, ranging from open government, transparency, and open data to citizen engagement and innovative best practices.

“Over the past several years, we have made tremendous progress in how we are utilizing technology to create a more transparent, engaging, and efficient City-Parish – efforts that have put Baton Rouge squarely on the map and in a leadership position among our peers when it comes to digital innovation,” said Mayor Holden. “When we established a vision of turning Baton Rouge into a digital city, we were very serious and had a roadmap in place to make it happen. This latest announcement and a Top 10 Digital City ranking for the second year in a row is validation that we are well on our way to achieving that vision, which has only been possible through a commitment to hard work, technology, teamwork, and innovation wherever and however possible.”

Baton Rouge placed as a Top 10 Digital City within the Center for Digital Government’s third-largest population category, ranked ahead of cities such as Pasadena, California; Norfolk, Virginia; Scottsdale, Arizona; Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and more.

“I can’t say enough about the work of our entire team throughout the past year in terms of all the strides we’ve made with technology, particularly given some of these advances have come during one of the most devastating natural disasters in the history of the U.S.,” said Eric Romero, Interim Director of the Department of Information Services. “Whether it is through how we now use social media or GIS technologies to both engage and inform Baton Rouge residents or investments in new platforms or systems that help our City-Parish departments serve the public more efficiently than ever before, we are committed to continue taking the necessary steps to keep Baton Rouge at the forefront of how local government can and should utilize technology to most effectively serve citizens through a digital city model for innovation.”

A number of City-Parish initiatives supported this year’s Top 10 Digital City ranking, including:

• The launch of a dedicated smartphone application and website for residents to use in requesting services and reporting issues through the City-Parish 311 system
• A formalized data-sharing partnership between the City-Parish and Waze, the free, real-time crowdsourced navigation app powered by the world’s largest community of drivers – joining 65 other communities around the world as global partners within the Waze Connected Citizens Program to promote greater efficiency, deeper insights and safer roads for citizens in Baton Rouge
• The City-Parish’s use of social media in innovative ways, such as using the City of Baton Rouge Facebook page to coordinate search and rescue operations immediately following the August 2016 flooding with emergency phone lines, cell towers, and call centers either overloaded or non-operational
• A number of advancements made through the eBRGIS program, including how geographic information systems (GIS) technologies are utilized to assist in critical City-Parish services such as disaster response, flood inundation tracking and mapping, debris removal, and crime prevention – such as through the Baton Rouge Public Safety Common Operational Platform (PSCOP) launched in May 2016
• The establishment of a ‘smart city’ strategy for enhancing how Baton Rouge uses cutting-edge technology to improve traffic, create an environment to foster innovative solutions to transportation-related issues, and grow the local digital economy as a result
• The initiation of a study to lay the foundation for how the City-Parish can facilitate the expansion of high-speed broadband internet access throughout the Baton Rouge community while creating cost efficiencies for related infrastructure investments
• The continued implementation of software and solutions to create more efficient service delivery across all City-Parish departments, including the MyProjectNow project lifecycle and workflow management system for public works staff and the introduction of a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, which involves the implementation of one of the largest and most complex technological upgrades ever to City-Parish internal systems by replacing the current 20-year-old financial system with an ERP system that takes into account and aligns business needs ranging from financial reporting and procurement to time-keeping and human resource processes
• A Top 10 ranking in 2015 and 2016 in the U.S. Open Data Census, outpacing cities such as Los Angeles, Kansas City, Nashville, San Francisco, Chicago, and more, which annually ranks the level to which local government data is made open, online, and easily accessible to the general public

“This year’s top digital cities are using technology to ensure citizens can meaningfully interact with city government more easily than any other time in history,” said Todd Sander, Executive Director of the Center for Digital Government. “From open data portals to enhanced connectivity and mobile platforms, this year’s top-ranked cities are actively promoting transparency, encouraging citizen participation and making it easier for people to do business with government. Congratulations to the winners!"

Each of the top-ranked cities will be honored at a special awards ceremony during the National League of Cities’ annual Congress of Cities and Exposition in Pittsburgh, PA on November 17. For more information, visit http://www.govtech.com/dc/articles/Digital-Cities-Survey-2016.html

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