Bloomberg Philanthropies announces Louisville as an American city best at using data to improve residents’ lives in 2019

April 24, 2019

Second annual What Works Cities Certification recognizes Louisville for using data and evidence to solve local issues and prepare for future challenges

 Today Bloomberg Philanthropies announced that Louisville Metro Government is one of seven cities to achieve 2019 What Works Cities Certification, a national standard of excellence in city governance. What Works Cities Certification evaluates how well cities are managed by measuring the extent to which city leaders incorporate data and evidence in their decision-making.

Louisville achieved Certification at the gold level, moving up from the silver level in 2018. In announcing Louisville’s increased level of Certification today, What Works Cities pointed to efforts led by the Office for Performance Improvement & Innovation to create on-demand traffic studies in partnership with the Waze app in place of more costly, slower-to-develop traditional traffic studies. What Works Cities also cited the city’s ongoing efforts to improve its engagement and quality of publicly open data.

“What Works Cities Gold Certification means our city government is performing among the very best in the U.S. and that our work to use innovation and data to more efficiently expend tax dollars is a national model,” Mayor Greg Fischer said. “There are always more efficiencies to implement, more breakthrough innovations to explore — and we have the right team to guide us in the Office of Performance Improvement & Innovation, led by Grace Simrall and Carmen Moreno-Rivera.”

Mayor Fischer created the Office of Performance Improvement & Innovation in 2012 to guide Louisville Metro Government in improving the use of evidence, data and innovation to achieve more efficient and effective services for residents. OPI2 has helped the city increase revenue, reduce staff time, increase program reach and avoid costly consultants. This includes:

A 29% reduction in repair time at Louisville Metro Parks’ Central Services repair facility.
Savings of $72,000 by taking over the Employee Engagement survey from an outsourced company while substantially increasing the participation rate.
Hackathons that drew in community partners to help us better use our data.
Getting more people involved in the digital platforms that are essential for the economy of today and tomorrow. That includes more than 500 low-cost internet sign ups with local providers and distributed more than 350 refurbished donated computers for residents in need in 2018.
Bringing in more than $13.5 million in grants.

“We are proud to celebrate Louisville and the other certified cities and recognize their achievements for others to learn from,” said Simone Brody, Executive Director of What Works Cities. “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.”

What Works Cities Certification evaluates how well cities are managed and how city leaders incorporate data and evidence in their decision-making. Cities are evaluated on factors such as whether they have dedicated staff responsible for helping departments use data to track their progress; whether contracts are awarded based on past performance; meetings are focused on numbers; key datasets are open to the public; and whether there is transparency both in the goals set and the progress toward achieving them. Cities must demonstrate that they have policies in place to manage the risks associated with sophisticated data practices. The program also requires that cities publicly communicate their use of data best practices and engage community stakeholders in the process.

The Certification program launched in April 2017, and U.S. cities with populations of 30,000 and higher are eligible to participate. Cities are awarded silver, gold, or platinum Certification depending on their level of data sophistication. The Certification program was developed by a team of experts in close consultation with the What Works Cities Certification Standard Committee, which comprises leaders in the field from more than a dozen organizations that support cities. What Works Cities experts, along with members of the Standard Committee, then join in-person site visits to the highest-performing cities to determine the city’s Certification level. The seven 2019 certified cities were identified from over 90 assessments.

 

To date, a total of thirteen cities have achieved Certification:

Arlington, TX (2019 Silver), Boston, MA (2018 Silver), Kansas City, MO (2019 Gold, 2018 Silver), Los Angeles, CA (2018 Gold), Louisville, KY (2019 Gold, 2018 Silver), Memphis, TN (2019 Silver), New Orleans, LA (2018 Silver), Philadelphia, PA (2019 Silver), San Diego, CA (2018 Silver), San Francisco (2018 Silver), Scottsdale, AZ (2019 Silver), Seattle, WA (2018 Silver), and Washington, DC (2019 Gold, 2018 Silver)