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.
HARVARD POLITICAL REVIEW: SEATTLE’S RADICAL EXPERIMENT
Seattle is solving the issue of big money in politics by mailing residents “democracy vouchers”, equal to $100 and spendable on local political campaigns. City government wants to increase voter engagement and reduce the outsized influence of major donations in politics. Democracy vouchers are public funds for political campaigns, and once residents sign over their vouchers to a certain candidate, their campaign receives the money from the city. Through the program candidates were able to run without amassing large sums first, and small-dollar donations increased.
Cities trying to decrease bike and car accidents by installing separate and protected biking lanes showed the most progress through lower fatality and injury rates, according to a new study of 12 U.S. cities over 12 years. Traffic accidents involving bikers are a growing problem as biking becomes more popular and cities struggle to adapt curbs and streets. This study demonstrates that cities with separate lanes for bikers experience fewer fatalities and increased driver safety.
A printed, 500 page emergency plan is unlikely to be widely read and put into action, a flaw that that New York City just recently rectified. Last revised in 2014, the city’s emergency plan has been updated and made available in an online, interactive, and visual format by the NYC Emergency Management Department. City residents and public officials now have a streamlined, accessible way to find and learn about crucial safety information.
STATE TECH MAGAZINE: OFFSITE DATA STORAGE HELPS LOCAL AGENCIES WITH DISASTER RECOVERY
As extreme weather disasters become more common across the U.S., cities and counties are rushing to backup and secure their data before any irreplaceable records and information are lost. Ottawa County, MI has over 100 virtual servers that house different types of data, from all 34 of the local government’s departments. This extra assurance means that residents can better rely on the government, and still utilize resources and services during a time of crisis.
GOVERNMENT TECHNOLOGY: HOW SHOULD CITIES HANDLE NEW MOBILITY DATA? NACTO HAS IDEAS
The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) and the International Municipal Lawyers Association (IMLA) just released a policy report called "Managing Mobility Data” to guide cities on the sharing and protection of their residents’ mobility data. There are four underlying principles for working with private mobility companies; Public Good, Protected, Purposeful, and Portable. The rapid growth in app-enabled mobility means that cities should find ways to define their relationships with these companies, and their data.
Harnessing the power of frustrated form-filling residents, The Lab@DC hosted “Form-a-Palooza” so citizens could engage with the Mayor’s Office and completely overhaul the city’s dreaded paper forms. This article outlines the steps taken, and the values central to the initiative, which put residents first and looked to transform government pain points with input and creativity from district citizens.