Each week we will bring you a summary of what happened this week on our site, on Twitter, and in the wider world of civic data. Suggest stories on Twitter with #ThisWeekInData.
The Canadian Journal of Commerce: Edmonton submits ‘Healthy City’ proposal for Smart Cities Challenge
The Canadian city of Edmonton took a unique approach to its proposal for Infrastructure Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge by focusing on improvements in health outcomes. It will use health data and analytics to improve not just services and programs, but also policies around health care for residents. Edmonton envisions a smart city as a partnership that provides equal opportunity for health outcomes and improves the quality of life of its residents.
The top workforce challenge facing state government: attracting new hires. According to a new survey by Accenture, with Neogov and the National Association of State Chief Administrators, the public tech sector is increasingly unable to compete with the high salaries and established networks in the private sector. States are rewriting job descriptions, modernizing pay structures, and creating internship pipelines in an attempt to increase interest from highly-skilled technical workers, but it remains to be seen how effective these changes will be.
State Departments of Transportation are experiencing a significant change in how they see themselves and frame their work, as they expand their focus from highways to urban mobility networks. A historic emphasis on interstates and car ownership shaped state DOTs, but new methods for mobility and more urban communities require a different mindset. Smart growth organizations recommend eight ways of thinking and working to improve state DOTs, including land use considerations and community relations.
Government Technology: Massachusetts Cities Tackle Pedestrian Safety with Data
Cambridge and Somerville want to eliminate pedestrian deaths, but growing cycling activity and foot traffic increase this risk. A recently released report from the Governors Highway Safety Association found that deaths of pedestrians by motorists rose 7 percent from 2017 to 2018 nationwide. Cambridge and Somerville are piloting a data-driven risk assessment to first quantify pedestrian risk and then use that information to tailor safety interventions, with the ultimate goal of zero fatalities.
Centre for Public Impact: Case Study: Philadelphia’s Indego Bike Sharing System
Urban cycling has many physical and environmental benefits, but bike share systems can reinforce racial and economic disparities. Portland State University found that high-income white residents took three times more bike trips than low-income people of color. With Indego, Philadelphia tackled these inequalities by building stations in low-income areas of the city and allowing cash payments. Data shows that they have successfully increased participation in key demographics, using a model that other cities can adopt.
There are significant gaps in the mapping and data available for urban forest management, leaving these green spaces vulnerable to climate change, invasive pests, and plant pathogens. Many urban forest managers don’t have access to projections for climate change or information about urban heat islands, and even those who do lack the financial and personnel resources to make these concerns a top priority. Since these green spaces are the only way that many urban residents experience nature, protecting these areas with improved data and maps needs to be a priority.