Cities are amazing icons of human ingenuity, but the general sentiment is that they could always run more efficiently than they already do. Now eight cities have been selected to participate in a data sharing program to allow for communication that never existed before. The hope is that all of the cities in the U.S. can learn from each other and become more efficient across the board. In order to do so, former mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, wants to correct all the issues that slow down a city, such as train delays, traffic congestion, or misappropriated government funding. In the process, he hopes to create a blueprint that will usher in a new era of American Cities.
Who has been selected to participate?
Hundreds of cities in the United States have applied to become a part of Bloomberg’s What Works Cities program, and many have been selected to join the ambitious cause to help spearhead the campaign. Back in April of 2015, former mayor Bloomberg announced that $42 million dollars would be appropriated to help cities in the U.S. promote transparency and citizen involvement, conduct cheaper evaluations that allow cities to improve, incorporate data into better budgets, and focus funds towards the needs of citizens. The eight cities to join the ranks in an effort to improve urban life include Chattanooga, Tennessee; Jackson, Mississippi; Kansas City, Missouri; Louisville, Kentucky; Mesa, Arizona; New Orleans, Louisiana; Seattle Washington; Tulsa, Oklahoma. The amount of cities is still relatively small, but after the success of the program, this number could grow much larger. According to the initiative website, eligible cities include, “Any U.S. city with a population between 100,000 ad 1,000,000 is eligible… We are looking to ensure a good cross section of cities from all corners of the country, no matter how far along they are in using data and evidence today.”
What data will be shared between those participating in the ‘What Works Cities’?
The data shared by Bloomberg’s program will include information designed to help cities share strategies in order to optimize all aspects of the way they operate. The results of the participating cities so far have been remarkable. Some of the milestones include a 70 percent decrease in work related injuries in Louisville and a decrease in the number of false alarms issued to emergency vehicles in Denver, saving $145,000 dollars. Cities like Pittsburgh are also using real-time data to track snow plows, which allows travelers to plan their routes around the data.