IN A POLICY BRIEF RELEASED TODAY, the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston describes how the City of Boston has used data and technology to improve government services.   The brief, entitled “City Hall’s Data and Technology Journey: Using Data to Improve the Lives of Citizens,” traces the recent history of Boston's data efforts, and analyzes how the City’s efforts have improved firefighting, business permitting, and the flow of traffic. 

“Over the past several years the City of Boston has emerged as a national leader in creatively using technology to improve public services," said Jeffrey Liebman, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Public Policy and director of the Rappaport Institute. "The key to Boston's success has been the way in which the mayor's office and city departments have worked together.  There has been strong mayoral leadership pushing these initiatives, but also a proper amount of deference to departmental expertise."  

The brief describes how Boston's Citywide Analytics Team, the Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics, and the CityScore Initiative emerged out of earlier efforts to track and improve government performance and finds that Boston’s combination of strong Mayoral support, collaborative approach with clients, and iterative approach to IT development have allowed the City to develop innovative solutions.

The policy brief was authored by Rappaport Institute Executive Director Steve Poftak.

In addition to his appointment at Harvard Kennedy School, Poftak also serves as the Vice-Chair of the MBTA’s Fiscal Management and Control Board, as well as serving on the MassDOT Board of Directors.  Previously, Poftak was the Research Director at Pioneer Institute.  Before that, he worked at the Commonwealth's Executive Office for Administration and Finance, where he managed the $1.3 billion capital budget, prepared the state's quarterly cash flow reporting, and monitored non-tax revenue receipts.  

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