Used data to more efficiently and quickly address the veteran housing crisis by understanding the size and scope of the problem, coordinating with city officials, and measuring their impact.
Chattanooga’s Police Data Initiative analyzed arrests, traffic citations, 911 calls, and use of force, and created a Police Equity Dashboard to implement more equitable practices.
Residents can access performance dashboards and keep tabs on everything from infrastructure issues to the average length of traffic jams via open data platform ChattaData.org.
Building a City-Wide Learning Culture
The City has scaled up similar data-driven techniques to address homelessness as a whole in Chattanooga while also making data-driven governance and innovation the norm across other realms. OPMOD, which launched in 2014, works to harness data and use specific performance metrics to support projects that can improve the lives of residents in areas like economic growth and public safety.
For example, OPMOD staff has helped with Chattanooga’s Police Data Initiative. The team analyzed arrests, traffic citations, 911 calls, and use of force, and created a Police Equity Dashboard to break down the data. The process revealed that Chattanooga’s nonwhite residents were disproportionately cited for driving without insurance or with an expired registration. The city is now working on how to better help minority populations with vehicle upkeep.
To that end, Chattanooga began holding monthly data-driven performance meetings called ChattaData in which the heads of city agencies team with OPMOD’s three data experts to crunch numbers and tackle big issues. The City also created an open data platform, ChattaData.org, so that residents can view performance dashboards to keep tabs on everything from property crimes to the average length of traffic jams. (Technical assistance received from Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Government Excellence, a WWC expert partner, in part focused on open data practices, including automating the flow of data to the platform to increase access to real-time data and better respond to resident requests.)
Chattanooga also embraced budgeting for outcomes, an approach that involves specifying outcomes the city hopes to achieve through the annual budgetary process, creating plans for how to achieve them, and then using data to measure progress. And in 2017, Chattanooga launched the Peak Academy, which trains city employees to use data to drive innovation. Moreland estimates that about 200 people from various city departments have attended the intensive five-day “black belt” training program, which is based on a successful program in Denver, Colorado. The expectation is that each attendee returns to their regular duties ready to implement three innovation ideas that can improve work processes and the delivery of city services to residents.
Even small, relatively simple innovations can have big impacts over time, Moreland says, while building “connective tissue between city staff and between staff and residents,” he says.