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.
CIVIC SWITCHBOARD: 8 CONSIDERATIONS FOR LIBRARIES THAT WANT TO HOST OPEN DATA
The Civic Switchboard team assembled eight questions for libraries to answer about hosting open data, drawing on their experience working with regional open data hosts. These questions include practical considerations about risk mitigation and server infrastructures, as well as broader questions about data hosting motivations and community data needs. Libraries are understandably useful open data hosts, so this series of questions is a great guide for any looking to start hosting.
A bill regulating “personal delivery devices” was just signed into law in Washington, providing unified rules for devices that had been previously operating in some counties. Regulations include a unique ID number for each bot, a max speed of six miles per hour, and crossings only at designated crosswalks. Washington is now the eighth state to allow delivery robots on public sidewalks.
Cities are going beyond traditional methods of engagement like in-person meetings or emails to reach residents that aren’t already engaged in government feedback processes. Many local governments routinely hear from the same small population of citizens, so using online surveys is a way to broaden the engagement reach and gain greater input on community needs. Online surveys are quick, which appeals to residents, and they can be advertised through many different channels. One city in Texas even advertises surveys in the utility bills that go out to all residents, meaning all demographics in the city are alerted to, and invited to participate in, the online survey.
GOVERNMENT TECHNOLOGY: MICRO-MOBILITY IS HERE TO STAY — CITIES SHOULD ACT ACCORDINGLY
With more than 85,000 app rental scooters in about 100 American cities, dockless transit is rapidly altering conversations about mobility. In this article, various cities outline how micro mobility vehicles can cover first mile/last miles gaps and offer a more sustainable form of transportation. Of course, cities will also need to introduce legislation and regulation to manage this growth, and take advantage of dockless vehicle benefits while minimizing risks.
San Francisco is about to vote on the use of facial recognition technology by city departments, and Oakland is proposing a ban that will be reviewed later in May by the city’s Public Safety Committee. Proponents of these moves are concerned with racial profiling and false positive identifications, citing the lack of safeguards and regulations in such a new industry. Other cities will undoubtedly be watching closely to see how these measures turn out.
GLOBAL GOVERNMENT FORUM: UK ROLLS OUT SMARTPHONE PAYMENTS FOR PUBLIC SERVICES
Since 2016 the UK government has allowed online payments for some services, using their debit and credit cards. Now they’re trialing payments with Apple Pay and Google Pay, integrating these methods into their existing online platform. Government officials cite mobile payments as more secure, since no card information needs to be typed in and the payments are often validated by fingerprint.