Monday, 22 September 2014

Making city data more accessible to the public


In Metro News on Friday, there was a story about open data at London City Hall, and how much access residents have to information about city services and initiatives. 

Ward 7 council candidate Josh Morgan and I are proposing a way to make that data more available to you. It’s a Web site called a "citizen dashboard", and it is already being used successfully in Edmonton



Here’s why I think the citizen dashboard is right for London:  if you want to know how many road construction projects are on schedule, what the snow-plow routes are, or how many people were left behind at bus stops last month, where would you get that information? Right now it’s difficult to find, and is likely not included in the city's collection of open data.

A citizen dashboard would display city data, and metrics are displayed in a way that is attractive and easy to understand. For example, the Edmonton dashboard displays the city’s vehicle collision rate, community centre attendance, and waste-diversion rate, as well as the city’s credit rating and debt. Knowing whether London is on track to meet its goals in these areas will help residents keep their government accountable. 

Most importantly, Londoners get to see how effectively public money is being spent, making sure we get what we pay for. It’s one of the ways I plan to promote integrity and accountability during my time on city council. 

I’d love to know what city data you’d like the dashboard to track. Is it the unemployment rate, the service level in city offices, or maybe the condition of our infrastructure? Comment below or send me an e-mail with your thoughts. Let’s make information about our city more accessible to all of us.