Arlington receives What Works Cities Certification

Bloomberg Philanthropies announced April 24 that Arlington is one of seven cities to achieve 2019 What Works Cities Certification, a national standard of excellence in city governance. What Works Cities Certification rates how well cities are managed by measuring the extent to which city leaders incorporate data and evidence in their decision-making, the city said in a news release.

Arlington, which achieved certification at the silver level, is the first Texas city recognized for implementing data policies and practices designed to improve residents’ lives, the news release said.

The news release said that since 2017, Arlington has worked to both use and make data more accessible in order to better connect its residents with services, create efficiencies, determine community priorities and how to allocate resources, and spur collaboration with the private sector.

“Data helps city leaders understand problems and measure success, and it helps citizens hold government accountable for meeting public needs on all the big challenges we face – from promoting health and safety to fighting climate change,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term Mayor of New York City.

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The city said that In addition to forming a multi-departmental Data Governance and Innovation team and adopting an open data policy based on citizen feedback, Arlington:

– Continues to develop its Open Arlington portal, which currently offers 39 data sets ranging from interactive maps to water use by ZIP code.

– Places an emphasis on incorporating data in articles, videos and social media to communicate with the public on issues ranging from the City’s budget to the performance measures of individual departments or programs.

¬– Adapts to rapidly changing technology to answer common questions that the public may have through the tools, such as smart phones or smart speakers, that people rely on for information.

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– Seeks opportunities to partner with researchers, developers, students and entrepreneurs to explore real-world applications of city data that could solve community issues, provide targeted services or spur investment within Arlington.

“We are proud to join a very small number of cities across the country who have achieved What Works Cities Certification,” City Manager Trey Yelverton said in the release. “The taxpayers invest a lot in various technology solutions that are intended to help us manage our resources effectively. Whether we are talking about our streets, our water, or resources to keep our community safe, we are using data to drive our decision-making. We are using the tools that are given to us to maximize the results for our citizens and we are going to continue to do so.”

One of the accomplishments Arlington was recognized for was using data to identify and secure federal funding for an innovative solution for residents’ and visitors’ public transit needs through a partnership with the rideshare company Via. More than 156,000 trips have been made using Arlington’s affordable on-demand Via rideshare service since it began in December 2017.

“We are proud to celebrate Arlington and the other certified cities and recognize their achievements for others to learn from,” Simone Brody, Executive Director of What Works Cities, said in the announcement. “These well-managed cities are better solving the problems facing their communities and addressing residents’ needs. They are stretching every dollar by using data to set priorities, budget effectively, and ensure investments are yielding desired results. They are also putting data at the core of their efforts to prepare for future challenges.”

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What Works Cities Certification evaluates how well cities are managed and how city leaders incorporate data and evidence in their decision-making.

– FWBP Staff