Boston's challenge was sharing data across departments to avoid redundant data-collection efforts and improve city decision making. Data sharing is a common problem for many cities, and it's one Boston has addressed with the launch of an open data platform. "We think we have a nice platform and it does simple things like replace the need for Freedom of Information Act requests, but there's lots more to be done," said Boston CIO Bill Oates (pictured above). "Part of that challenge is to remediate data quality issues and the siloed nature of our systems."
Boston's 2012 IBM Smarter Cities Challenge Grant bolstered efforts to reduce traffic and carbon emissions within the city. An IBM team surveyed more than 75 stakeholders in June and found that agencies including the Boston Transportation Department (BTD), an Environmental and Energy Services Cabinet and the city's Department of Innovation and Technology could all make use of traffic data that wasn't being shared. Recommendations included standardizing traffic data models and formats, automatically sharing BTD traffic data with other agencies, and consolidating access to videocameras across departments as the basis of a master traffic-control system.