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Top 10 Digital Cities Named in Survey

Rhonda Wilson
December 2003
Center for Digital Government

Tampa, Fla., Fort Wayne, Ind., and Roanoke, Va., are the most digital-savvy, cutting-edge cities in the nation, according to the 2003 Digital Cities Survey, an annual study conducted by the Center for Digital Government, a national research and advisory institute on information technology (IT) in government and education.

Launched in June, the Digital Cities Survey examined and assessed how city governments are progressing in utilizing information technology to streamline operations and deliver quality service to their citizens. Officials responded to a set of 16 questions and ranked their jurisdictions according to a four-point scale, providing Web site addresses and background data for final verification and validation.

Mayors, city managers and chief information officers in more than 300 cities across the nation were invited to participate in the survey, which grouped cities into three categories based on population: 250,000 or more, 125,000-249,999, and 75,000-124,999.

Tampa retains its First-place ranking from the 2002 survey in the population category of 250,000 or more. Fort Wayne moves up two notches from third in 2002 to First place in the population category of 125,000-249,999. Roanoke holds on to the number-one position for the third year in a row in the population category of 75,000-125,000.

"This year's survey received a record number of responses from cities large and small. This was due, in part, to one thing: progress," said Cathilea Robinett, executive director of the Center for Digital Government. "Nearly every city government that participated in the survey made great progress in improving their business functions with customers and increasing their overall service delivery to citizens -- all with the support of technology. I commend our nation's digital-savvy cities for setting the bar high and for putting the needs of their customers and citizens First."

Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio and her technology team are capitalizing on the city's Web site to help make it easier for citizens to gain access to services and information, such as the city budget, city council agendas, major development reports, business license/tax inquiries and renewals, crime activity maps, police reports, and more.

"Participation in the Digital Cities Survey allows us to benchmark where we are in comparison to other cities," said Iorio. "It is great to see we are on the right track and that we have received national recognition for our efforts."

Citizens in Fort Wayne have 24-hour access to information on elected officials, economic development, planning and zoning, homeland security, city codes, and more. Mayor Graham Richard said the city is working hard to utilize technology to improve all areas of government, especially those that most directly impact service to Fort Wayne residents.

"This recognition will encourage us to continue to look for ways to draw on technology to improve services to residents and businesses in our community as well as our own employees," said Richard.

Roanoke is the only municipality to rank First in the Digital Cities Survey three years straight. Mayor Ralph Smith said the award reflects the City Council's commitment to use information technology to improve service delivery to the residents of Roanoke and to create a high-tech environment for local business establishments.

"Roanoke's e-government initiatives provide citizens and businesses with a robust selection of online services, ranging from bill payment to a geographic information system," said Smith. "In addition to the public Web site, Roanoke is very excited about many of the new innovative e-government initiatives made possible by partnering with other public and private agencies around the valley, including free downtown wireless Internet access for public use, regional public access kiosks to promote the Roanoke Valley, and City Council Web-casting. I would like to congratulate the staff of the Technology Department on this impressive accomplishment."

Top 10 Digital Cities

Rounding out the top 10 digital cities behind Tampa in the population category of 250,000 or more are Colorado Springs, Colo. (tied for second), Los Angeles, Calif. (tied for second), Virginia Beach, Va., Tucson, Ariz., Seattle, Wash., Chicago, Ill. (tied for sixth), Nashville, Tenn. (tied for sixth), Kansas City, Mo., Corpus Christi, Texas, Jacksonville, Fla., and Honolulu, Hawaii.

Rounding out the top 10 digital cities behind Fort Wayne in the population category of 125,000-249,999 are Winston-Salem, N.C., Des Moines, Iowa, Plano, Texas (tied for fourth), Salt Lake City, Utah (tied for fourth), Richmond, Va., Lincoln, Neb. (tied for sixth), Norfolk, Va. (tied for sixth), Torrance, Calif. (tied for sixth), Irving, Texas, Hampton, Va., Bakersfield, Calif. (tied for ninth), Mobile, Ala. (tied for ninth), Madison, Wis. (tied for tenth), and Naperville, Ill. (tied for tenth).

Rounding out the top 10 behind Roanoke in the population category of 75,000-124,999 are Coral Springs, Fla. (tied for second), Ogden, Utah (tied for second), Denton, Texas (tied for third), Fort Collins, Colo. (tied for third), Olathe, Kan., Bellevue, Wash. (tied for fifth), Carrollton, Texas (tied for fifth), Boulder, Colo. (tied for sixth), Schaumburg, Ill. (tied for sixth), Independence, Mo. (tied for seventh), Pueblo, Colo. (tied for seventh), Westminster, Colo. (tied for seventh), Tyler, Texas, Arvada, Colo. (tied for ninth), Macon, Ga. (tied for ninth), Costa Mesa, Calif. (tied for tenth), Manchester, N.H. (tied for tenth), and Roseville, Calif. (tied for tenth).

In recognition of their achievements, the top-ranked cities will be honored by the Center for Digital Government and the National League of Cities (NLC) at an NLC conference in Nashville, Tenn., on December 11. In January 2004, the Center will publish a Best of Breed report with profiles of some of the most innovative projects gleaned from the 2003 Digital Cities Survey.

Microsoft underwrote the 2003 Digital Cities Survey. For more information on the survey or Center for Digital Government, contact Rhonda Wilson at 916/932-1321 or rwilson@centerdigitalgov.com.