Cordell Schachter has been the New York City Department of Transportation’s chief technology officer since 2008, a feat he attributes to being “professionally ambidextrous.”
“I’m very focused on our team, our customer service, our technical support organization, which scores well over 95 percent customer satisfaction,” Schachter said. “We also have an eye on the future for innovation for what we need to do tomorrow to be relevant, to be helpful and add value for our taxpayers.”
@NYC_DOT Chief Technology Officer Cordell Schachter is focused on customer service, and 'what we need to do tomorrow to be relevant, to be helpful and add value for our taxpayers.' #govtech
One of those projects is a GIS-oriented sign management system, in collaboration with a business partner. DOT manages more than a million signs in New York City, many of them historical. “The new system allows our staff to interact on any kind of device, ideally a tablet, where they can touch the map where they need to inquire what current regulations for signs are and get a work order at that location.”
As CTO, Schachter leads DOT’s IT and telecom wing and department projects that seek to innovate safety, mobility, smart and accessible infrastructure, software development, mapping, communications, public data, and customer support. IT and telecom also support New York City’s Vision Zero program, a model for reducing traffic fatalities and serious injuries.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Schachter and staff built an app that allowed field staff to visually record an estimated $500 million worth of damage to transportation infrastructure like streets, bridges and sidewalks. Maps and pictures were a crucial element in planning for repairs and documenting eligibility for federal, state and local disaster funds. Schachter didn’t have to make any purchases for that deployment and credits the diverse, professional staff he’s assembled for mobilizing an effective, creative response.
Jim McKay is the editor of Emergency Management magazine. He lives in Orangevale, Calif., with his daughter, Ellie, and son, Ronan. He relaxes by fly fishing on the Truckee River for big, wild trout.