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Taking the Lead

Fundamentals, teamwork and executive support characterize the 2002 Digital Cities winners.

Tod Newcombe
February 2003
Government Technology Magazine

A new survey by the Center for Digital Government singles out three unique American cities for progress and innovation in their use of technology and electronic government. The winners of the 2002 Digital Cities survey come from different parts of the country, but share common traits that define a well-run, forward-looking American metropolis.

Honolulu; Tampa, Fla.; Des Moines, Iowa; and Roanoke, Va., took top honors in the annual survey, which examined the use of IT among 125 cities. Not only did these winners have a robust selection of online services available for citizens, they also had the right infrastructure, management tools and policies in place to ensure technology enables government operations in the 21st century.  ...

Ranked 10th in the 2001 Digital Cities Survey, Tampa, Fla., tied Honolulu for top honors this year. The city is the largest in Hillsborough County and the third most populous in the state.

When it comes to digital innovation, the city is just as big. For example, the city received top marks in the survey for digital democracy and online services. Residents can contact elected leaders via e-mail, check an online calendar for the latest events and meetings, and watch council meetings either on the Web or via TV.

Business taxes, parking permits and parking tickets can be paid online. Residents can also request police reports while businesses can secure a wide range of permit and code inspection services via the Internet.

Like many digital cities, Tampa not only has a citizen-centric Web portal that's easy to navigate, it also has a robust geographic information system that drives many critical applications that support government operations, as well as citizen services.

Tampa Chief Information Technology Officer John McGrath was unavailable for comment.

By the Numbers:

2002 Digital Cities Survey Altogether, 125 cities responded to the Center for Digital Government's 2002 Digital Cities Survey, which was sponsored by Microsoft Corp. The cities ranged in population from 75,000 to 7 million. They embrace technology and use it to its fullest extent, despite razor-thin budgets and other barriers.

Here's what they are doing online:

  • Online job searches are extremely popular, with 97 percent of responding cities reporting at least 50 percent or more of their available jobs are posted online.
  • To support policy decisions, 94 percent of responding cities use GIS, and 80 percent make GIS available to citizens in some capacity.
  • Web portals are present in 88 percent of responding cities, with 37 percent posting at least six electronic forms that can process parking tickets, utility bills, permits, taxes, professional licenses, park services and procurement bids.
  • Digital democracy occurs in 30 percent of the cities, which have both cable TV and webcasting coverage of city council meetings.
  • IT leadership is big. A CIO or equivalent is in place in 91 percent of cities, and 66 percent have an IT strategic plan to guide them.

2002 Digital Cities Top 15

Population of more than 250,000

1. Honolulu
1. Tampa, Fla.
3. Kansas City, Mo.
4. New York
4. Seattle
6. Chicago
6. Colorado Springs, Colo.
6. Denver
6. Tucson, Ariz.
6. Virginia Beach, Va.
11. Houston, Texas
11. Memphis, Tenn.
11. Minneapolis
11. Washington, D.C.
15. Indianapolis
15. Nashville, Tenn.
15. San Diego

Population of 125,000 to 250,000

1. Des Moines, Iowa
2. Plano, Texas
3. Fort Wayne, Ind.
3. Richmond, Va.
3. Torrance, Calif.
6. Lincoln, Neb.
6. Salt Lake City
8. Durham, N.C.
8. Hollywood, Fla.
10. Hampton, Va.
10. Irving, Texas
10. Tacoma, Wash.
10. Winston-Salem, N.C.
14. Alexandria, Va.
14. Bakersfield, Calif.
14. Lubbock, Texas
14. Madison, Wis.
14. Naperville, Ill.

Population of 75,000 to 125,000

1. Roanoke, Va.
2. Fort Collins, Colo.
3. Independence, Mo.
4. Bellevue, Wash.
5. Boulder, Colo.
5. Westminster, Colo.
7. Cape Coral, Fla.
7. Macon, Ga.
9. Arvada, Colo.
9. Beaumont, Texas
9. Coral Springs, Fla.
9. Richardson, Texas
13. Cambridge, Mass.
13. Olathe, Kan.
15. Carrollton, Texas
15. Columbus, Ohio
15. Roseville, Calif.