Parts of Hampton Roads ranked among top digital cities in U.S.

13News Now Philip Townsend has the story

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WVEC) -- Four cities in Hampton Roads have been named among the top digital cities in the United States.

The annual Digital Cities Survey conducted by the Center for Digital Government recognizes leading examples of cities using technology to improve services and boost efficiencies. Williamsburg, Hampton, Norfolk and Virginia Beach all made the list.

The 2016 survey focused on collaboration among cities, counties and regions with targeted questions on the initiatives cities were proudest of in the areas of citizen engagement, policy, operations, and technology and data.

Williamsburg placed third on the list for cities with populations less than 75,000. This is the city's fourth consecutive year in the top 10 of its population category.

“Our inclusion on this prestigious list for the fourth year in a row is a testament to a supportive City Council, citizenry and an engaged staff,” says Mark Barham, the City’s Director of Information Technology. “To be ranked 3rd in the nation, especially given the size of our community, demonstrates our commitment to using technology throughout the organization and City in a thoughtful and effective manner”.

Virginia Beach was ranked first in the survey for cities with populations between 250,000 and 499,999. Officials say the survey submitted by the city highlighted technology-based projects such as its integrated public safety program and public safety radio replacement, transatlantic subsea fiber optic cable systems, next generation network, property search tool, Open VB and Open Budget, GIS open data and mobile applications.

“This first-place win is a tremendous honor for the IT department and the entire City of Virginia Beach organization,” said the city’s Chief Information Officer Matthew B. Arvay. “This designation recognizes the initiatives we’ve put into place to improve city services for residents.”

Hampton ranked fourth for cities with with populations between 125,000 and 249,000. 

In addition, Norfolk ranked ninth for cities with with populations between 125,000 and 249,000.

The city was recognized for a variety of technology strategies, including:

  • Expanding its fiber infrastructure to provide high speed internet to critical facilities that house public safety, utilities, libraries and parks and open spaces.
  • Increasing access to public Wi-Fi for residents and visitors through multiple projects including MacArthur Square/Tide Station, City Hall and other public spaces.
  • Implementing business systems to make it easier for residents and businesses to conduct transactions with the city.
  • Continually leveraging new technology, through enhanced data back-up and cyber security software and protocol, to ensure the security of data and business continuity in the event of a catastrophic event.

"This award validates our efforts to provide platforms that are customer-focused," said Steven DeBerry, Chief Information Officer for the City of Norfolk. "A Top 10 Digital Cities designation is especially gratifying since we are in the first year of executing a new information technology strategic plan that includes six major strategic initiatives: refresh and build the city's technological infrastructure; create a technologically connected city; deliver enterprise business applications and support solutions; develop a seamless brand image for the city; create integrated messaging to leverage city owned platforms; and hire, train and retain a diverse and cutting edge staff."

To view the full survey, click here.


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