Innovative projects honored

Public Technology Inc. rewarded 11 local governments Friday for applying technology in innovative ways to serve the public.

PTI is the technology arm of the National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties and the International City/County Management Association.

The honorees stood out from more than 120 entries by showing a willingness to change traditional practices to accommodate technological solutions, according to a PTI news release.

"There are so many best-practices strategies that sometimes we get lost in the forest. Clearly, the winners were able to see their way out of the forest," PTI president Costis Toregas said in the statement.

The 2000 Solutions Award winners are:

    * Small jurisdiction: A Gaithersburg, Md., system enables employees to merge vendor, city or other government databases to generate maps and reports.

    * Mid-size jurisdiction: Portland, Ore., used a methane byproduct in place of natural gas for fuel cells that help operate its wastewater treatment plant.

    * Large jurisdiction: A Los Angeles system gives express buses priority at traffic signals to keep them on schedule. Loop detectors in the road detect when a bus nears an intersection and centralized software controls whether to extend a green light a few extra seconds.

The winners will receive their awards at PTI's annual conference April 18 to 21 in Atlanta.

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