With more than 20 years of experience covering state and local government, Tod previously was the editor of Public CIO, e.Republic’s award-winning publication for information technology executives in the public sector. He is now a senior editor for Government Technology and a columnist at Governing magazine.
In this year's survey, the Center for Digital Government recognizes 55 counties that understand technology's value, empower their tech leaders, and implement new ideas to make life better for those who live and work there.
Tools like the GPS bullet are part of a larger movement by police departments to use technology to find safer, less lethal ways to deal with suspects.
Taking a look at five key technologies — broadband, open data, GIS, CRM and analytics — and providing a window into how they're helping city governments cope with economic, educational and societal demands.
As urban centers expand their reliance on automated sensors and algorithms, they increase risks of data security breaches, vulnerabilities to invasions of privacy and concerns about software reliability.
Several big cities are decluttering and redesigning their government websites to make them easier to use.
States are not only anticipating a wave of retirements but also trouble filling the vacancies. In response, some are already developing new recruitment strategies.
America's power grid has gotten a lot of attention, but water utilities are increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks.
Massachusetts has begun using data analytics to predict where overdoses might occur.
Can the sharing economy have a lasting impact on local government?
Will local governments take the necessary steps to benefit from what the sharing economy has to offer?
Somerville, Mass., is New England’s most densely populated city -- and it's testing a new way to alleviate congestion and free up more space for public transit, pedestrians and bicyclists.
Some cities are conducting research and investing funds to study how ride-sharing models can help them become more innovative in terms of transportation.
Government equipment sits idle as much as 70 percent of the time, so why not share with each other?
More than 160,000 shelter stays were provided during and after Hurricane Sandy by a range of organizations, according to the American Red Cross.
Automatic and online voter registration have proven to increase voter rolls and save money, yet many states are still using paper.
A recent audit finds California’s efforts are woefully inadequate. And that’s the good news.
While many places try to regulate or ban sharing-economy companies like Uber and Airbnb, a few are instead working with them to improve their emergency preparedness and transportation options.
Most have avoided upgrading the systems that run our biggest health-care program themselves. But some are looking to outsource.
CIOs must practice due diligence in planning how the security of video files will be handled.
The popular review site is giving public employees a place to directly engage with citizens. Whether that improves services or trust remains to be seen.
Facebook, Twitter and all of their social-network cousins have a home in every government agency.
The vast amounts of video data -- and the metadata to track and manage the video clips for retention and chain of custody purposes -- is a technology issue that CIOs are trying to address.
Interest in body worn cameras is growing fast. Here are some issues to consider before you deploy.
Critics say the now-popular technology needs to be regulated, but cops worry too much regulation will hurt their ability to fight crime.
What may seem like a great way to engage citizens may not be as effective as cities would like.
The desire to measure and manage performance based on data captured by CRM software holds the same level of importance no matter a city's size.
Offering more options for citizens to connect with 311 means that fewer calls will come through the call center, but converting calls into online interactions isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Customer service is the leading trend in local government, as residents expect levels in their city or town to match what they get in the private sector. As such, 311 is typically a 24/7 proposition.
To put it simply: There was a complete breakdown in the planning and execution of the initiative.
Transit systems are growing along with ridership. But more investments in technology are needed to make transit a reliable alternative to automobiles in cities.
Social media can act as a monitoring tool that can help transit agencies improve how their systems run and even increase trust between passengers and agencies.
Automatic vehicle location and passenger counting systems create data that can fine-tune the running of a transit system.
To keep "choice riders" coming back, experts say that transit agencies must offer a ride that is reliable, fast, clean and convenient.
In a field focused on buses, subways and trains, the role of technology takes on growing importance for transit agencies and their customers.
Transit agencies' focus and spending are beginning to shift as technology, such as mobile computing, social media, GPS and data analytics, have opened up new ways to improve service and, hopefully, attract more riders.
Director, Center for Technology in Government, University at Albany, State University of New York
Human error and outdated technology have miscalculated thousands of prison sentences and cost some states millions of dollars.
Transit agencies are finally catching up to the private sector’s use of social media to improve their systems and increase the public’s trust in them.
As the open data movement spreads to smaller jurisdictions, the opportunities and challenges to extracting economic value become more pronounced.
Everybody understands how open data makes government more transparent. But the economic value is less clear.
It didn’t evolve as pioneers planned, but government’s move to digital has been revolutionary.
Having buy-in from all the stakeholders around the technology that should be used in public safety access points likely will make for a better-run network.
Efforts to halt the spread of the Ebola epidemic include a variety of tech tools. But their effectiveness remains unclear.
Ransomware was once a small-time malware problem, but it has exploded in use and become more sophisticated.
With funding spigots turning off, law enforcement agencies must find ways to operate more affordably, such as using technology in more efficient ways, which also means being smarter.
The few cross fertilizations between civic data enthusiasts and police departments are bring together the needs of safe communities with law enforcement’s efforts to fight crime and improve public safety.
Following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, the importance of social media as a policing tool, in particular Twitter and Facebook, soon became apparent.
Like other government agencies, police hope they can save some money and get rid of legacy hardware and software by using the cloud.
As analytical tools have become more sophisticated and data sets much larger, the ability to forecast crime has grown more nuanced.
Localities can achieve effective levels of public safety through the selective use of technology. But which technologies are having the biggest impact and why?
Small cameras worn on an officer’s vest, lapel or eyewear can capture interactions that have ramifications on several levels.
Ferguson police are the latest of more than 1,000 departments to wear body cameras, which are proven to reduce officers' use of force and citizens' complaints against cops.
ClaimStat is a data-driven risk management tool that can spot patterns in lawsuit claims and help find ways to reduce the costs of settlements and judgments.
The incubator group known as 18F uses agile methods and open source software to deliver user-centric services to federal agencies.
The HubHacks Challenge brought city officials and the tech community together to design a more user-friendly version of its outdated permit application process.
Most state and local governments in the U.S. are stuck in a desktop world with websites and services that don't work on smartphones and tablets. But not Utah.
The learning space represents an ongoing strategy by Mayor Michael Nutter to institutionalize a new way of problem solving within city government.
Sensors attached to traffic poles will stream a variety of environmental data to the city's open data portal for research on how a modern city functions.
Some cities think the key to getting citizens to trust in and see the value of government again is developing civic technology that's proven to work.
In the fifth and final section of our Digital Communities quarterly report, we look at how cities can build the business case for sensor projects.
Can we trust smart cities? In part four of our Digital Communities quarterly report, we look at whether people can become sensors, sending and receiving city-related data.
In part three of our Digital Communities quarterly report, we look at research organizations and the urban labs they run, which could be more than just platforms for studying urban informatics.
A company called Urban Engines works with city transit authorities to figure out better ways to use existing infrastructure and to craft incentives to change people’s commuting habits and reduce congestion.
Can we trust smart cities? In part two of our Digital Communities quarterly report, we look at the hardships in finding a working business model to justify a sensor-based project, as showing they can cut costs and impact a city’s budget can be tough.
Can we trust smart cities? In part one of our Digital Communities quarterly report, we look at making cities smarter through the use of sensor technology: tiny electronic devices that can measure and track just about anything that goes on in a city.
After losing hundreds of millions of dollars, the city is starting to clamp down on IT contractors to make sure taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely.
Sensors and analytics software are transforming urban centers. We look at the benefits and risks.
If the feds allow two of the biggest cable companies to combine, municipalities would lose even more power to create high-quality, low-cost publicly owned broadband services for their citizens.
How the small Middle Eastern country jumped from 49th to 28th in online service delivery should have state and local CIOs in the United States paying close attention.
The Spanish city is embedded with more than 12,000 sensors to help the government operate as efficiently as possible. It’s changing the way Europe thinks about cities.
FirstNet, the proposed national broadband public safety network, is big, expensive and complicated. Here are a few basic things you need to know.
The federal program that funds technology in schools spends about $600 million on outdated tools like pagers. The FCC wants to reform it, but how that happens is subject to political debate.
Commuter rail has been the poor stepchild of modern transit. That may change, thanks to changes in federal regulations.
City officials hope a small recording gadget will help boost the number of words low-income kids hear by the time they enter school.
Many state and local governments are still using the soon-to-be obsolete operating system, and the upgrade transition is proving slow and costly.
Facing a national shortage of experts able to battle the growing number of cyberthreats, Delaware's new initiative to boost its cybersecurity workforce could be a model for other states.
The IRS requires municipalities to retain tax exempt bond documents for up to 33 years. That’s a major paper burden crying out for digital help.
Today, nearly 300 cities (and some counties) have a 311 call system or use the underlying technology, known as customer relationship management, to track service requests and a host of other capabilities
The state tests appetite for wearable technology as part of an overall strategy to better serve mobile users.
New technology makes it possible to turn ordinary streetlamps into data-gathering networks. But is it too much of a good thing?
Recent audits reveal how poor strategic planning leads to lost opportunities for governments that are looking for new ways to deliver services at the lowest cost possible.
HealthCare.gov is another reminder of the ongoing problems government has with technology. But success and innovation are possible, says an expert.
It's been more than four years since the Great Recession ended, but for America's cities, fiscal problems continue to linger and won't go away anytime soon.
An increasing number of schools allow students to bring their own devices into the classroom, leaving administrators to re-evaluate security and privacy policies and update networks.
Just as new technologies are making it easier to get a ride, cries to reform taxi service as we know it are getting louder.
Fusion centers’ effectiveness and legality has been questioned ever since they were created in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks.
Communities with complete street policies are more economically viable and can compete better when it comes to attracting new residents and businesses.
Local digital government blossoms despite fiscal uncertainties.
IT leaders from three largest states advise vendors on realities, opportunities.
Once an afterthought, government customer service is now closely watched around the globe.
Rogue consumer technology is crippling the enterprise.
When it comes to government and technology, National Technology Champion Cathilea Robinett believes the best is yet to come.
Few CIOs are given a deadline. But New York City CIO Paul Cosgrave works for no ordinary mayor.
"Apple did something smart in the 1980s. They sold Macs to college students at half price, thereby getting them hooked for life."
Authors: John Baschab and Jon Piot
Authors: Martin Cole and Greg Parston
Demand for outsourcing forces CIOs to sharpen their negotiation, leadership and management skills.
Authors: Eric A. Marks & Michael Bell
Motorola is a world-class company with a reputation for high quality.
Peter Anderson remembers when being a city CIO was not all it was cracked up to be.
Ever wonder what it's like to be CIO of the world's largest software company?
Editors: Shayne C. Kavanagh and Rowan A. Miranda
Author: Darrell M. West
Digital camera surveillance takes off with lower costs and better software.
As his administration reaches the finish line, Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner -- who has many accomplishments on his resum
Author: Gordon & Glickson
Author: William Eggers
For a handful of IT chiefs, the role of CIO means having more than one job. It's an opportunity for some and a distraction for others.
Ian Watmore is the United Kingdom's first CIO -- a job with enormous implications.
CIOs in the private sector have their problems too, but some have become change agents to meet the challenges
Thanks to the open standard known as XML, justice officials have a tool to share criminal justice information quickly and cost-effectively
"One piece of good news is that Britons seem to like the idea of being e-citizens. Few, however, have tried it"
Steve Peck, SAP's public-sector chief, talks about the consolidating ERP market and why it's good for government
CIOs in the private sector have their problems too, but some have become change agents to meet the challenges.
What's the best model for good IT governance in government? Not surprisingly, there's more than one answer.
They composed a set of principles that can be reused by IT departments whether they are supporting transportation, public safety, human services or education
Authors: Marianne Broadbent and Ellen Kitzis
What's the best model for good IT governance in government? Not surprisingly, there's more than one answer.
Europe's local governments drive a major trend toward GIS -- a trend that could lead to sharing of geo info across the European Union.
New York City holds its seventh annual Technology Forum amid budget and baseball setbacks
Is it possible to build a single gateway for intergovernmental programs?
Government and education networks were once mutually exclusive, but a growing number of states are rethinking that tradition.
Interest in data center consolidation is running high these days. But to succeed, CIOs must practice their leadership roles.
19 winners, finalists announced at Microsoft's Government CIO Summit
Edited by Jacques S. Gansler and Robert E. Luby Jr.
Edited by Elaine Ciulla Kamarck, Joseph S. Nye Jr.
Karen Evans, the newest e-government chief for the federal government, is a well respected civil servant who understands the importance of technology and leadership in the public sector.
U.N. report cites low usage of e-government sites for citizen participation.
Local governments use mobile technology to better monitor water and wastewater without spending too much money.
Intergovernmental Solutions. Interesting ... Really
Three countries -- the United States, the United Kingdom and Singapore -- stand close together while boldly moving online.
Web services will make it easier to integrate information and deliver services. They may also change the way we think about government itself.
Wireless LANs are growing in popularity, but just what are their benefits, capabilities and uses?
When President Bush wants to find out how the federal government is investing nearly $60 billion in IT, he turns to one man: Mark Forman.