PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

Boulder officials on Tuesday announced the city was one of 16 across the nation and the first in the state to be recognized this year for data-driven local government, having earned “silver level” certification from What Works Cities.

What Works Cities was launched by Bloomberg Philantrhopies in April 2015, as a national initiative to help cities use data and evidence more effectively in problem-solving and improving residents’ lives.

Nearly 200 cities have competed a What Works Cities Assessment to date, a Boulder news release said, while only 24 cities have met the national standard in achieving certification.

“I am proud to be part of such an incredible organization,” City Manager Jane Brautigam stated in the release. “The What Works Cities certification is yet another testament to the dedication of city staff in ensuring our community receives the best service possible. We will continue to work together to develop evidence-based solutions as we respond to and recover from the public health crisis caused by the coronavirus.”

According to the release, examples of what helped Boulder earn the certification include reducing emissions, optimizing a machine learning model for processing city water and the fire department developing a live dashboard for 911 calls.

It also includes the city incorporating data practices to determine whether the response to the coronavirus and recovery were reducing racial inequities, and reviewing demographic data alongside infections of COVID-19 and hospitalization rates, employment, assistance programs, evictions and foreclosures.

“We set the goal of achieving WWC certification in 2020, and in less than two years we’ve done it,” Bill Skerpan, Boulder’s innovation and analytics manager, stated in the release. “It’s an important milestone for the city, achieved through dedication from departments across the city. But we still have more work to do on this innovation path and are excited to create more effective, efficient and equitable services for the Boulder community.”