Institute recognizes IT innovation

Public Technology Institute

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The nonprofit Public Technology Institute will recognize nine cities and counties for information technology innovation later this month.

PTI, a national research and development organization, recognizes local governments that use IT to improve services to citizens, gain efficiency or reduce costs. The entries were judged based on the likelihood that their models could be replicated elsewhere.

Winners will be honored during the group’s 2006 Congress for Technology Leadership, which will be held April 30 to May 2 in Chicago.

Awards are given in four categories -- emergency management, public safety, sustainability, and telecommunications, IT and Web -- in size categories based on the municipality’s population.

In the emergency management category, Fairfax County, Va., won for a subscription-based system that allows residents to sign up to receive emergency alerts, notifications and updates via a cell phone, pager, personal digital assistant or e-mail. Among medium-sized municipalities, Virginia Beach, Va., won for an online application that allows residents to customize hurricane reports based on their addresses.

In the public safety category, Phoenix won among large municipalities for allowing inspectors from the Neighborhood Services Department to use laptops to access their databases wirelessly for code enforcement. Among medium-sized municipalities, Washtenaw County, Mich., won for a Web-based system that allows health care providers to find information about mental health care practices and clinical health records. San Carlos, Calif., won among small municipalities for a police patrol car video management system.

In the sustainability category, which encompasses IT advances related to energy and the environment, Miami-Dade County won among large municipalities for a geographic information system-based inspection and filing application that allows the city’s water and wastewater inspectors to collect and transmit data wirelessly.

Among medium-sized municipalities in the same category, Fort Worth, Texas, won for developing an application that allowed for better monitoring and more efficient pickup of trash along a waste management company’s route. Santa Monica, Calif., won for creating a Web site that measures the progress of the small city’s sustainability program.

In the telecom/IT category among large municipalities, Phoenix won a second award for an airport information system that combines airline flight arrival data for three terminals into a single data stream. That data is displayed electronically at parking lots where waiting motorists can time their pickups of passengers.

Among medium-sized municipalities in the same category, Seattle got the nod for a democracy portal that provides live videostreams of city council meetings and archives videos of meetings and other programs. San Carlos also won a second award in the same category for a content management system that improved communication with citizens and information sharing among agencies.

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