From healthcare and utilities to transit and city planning, local and regional governments are embracing innovation. Take a look at what these agencies and their partners are doing to move government forward on behalf of their citizens.

Finalists - Constituent Services Award

Finalists - Solving Persistent Problems Award: Homelessness, Opioids, and Youth Underemployment

Finalists - Sustainability and Equity Award

Finalists - Powered by AWS Award

Finalists - Dream Big Award

Finalists - Public Dataset Award

Broward County Library’s (BCL) AWS DeepRacer Educational Cohort will teach people how to use artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning to deploy fully autonomous scale race cars. BCL will create a set of training and learning goals for each participant to accomplish, including introductory classes on AI and deep learning and an introduction to the AWS DeepRacer program. As part of the program, BCL will prefund their AWS account with AWS Promotional Credits for an estimated 20 hours of training time over a six-month period. Participants will retain control of their accounts and can continue to grow their new skills. BCL also uses Amazon Echo devices to bridge language barriers and broaden library accessibility. They will continue to use those devices to provide a variety of services to customers and enhance customer service.

ACCESS NYC is a front door to public benefits for New Yorkers, providing help identifying, screening for, and preparing to enroll in benefits. It does this through a mobile-responsive web application that includes a screener questionnaire for 30+ benefits, providing comprehensive and plain language information such as key dates, considerations, required documentation, and methods for application, as well as an interactive map of government offices and community-based organizations. Content is available in 11 languages and content and screening rules are open through the NYC Benefits Platform, which includes two open APIs that ACCESS NYC administers. In the past year, ACCESS NYC received 1,200,000 visits. The percentage of people completing the new screener increased from 20% to 67% on average per month and the number of screenings has increased from 5,703 to 12,250 on average per month (based on the last year of data for each).

The Omaha Police Department and it's partners have built a portal leveraging AWS for anonymous reporting, which will be implemented at mass scale for all the school districts within Douglas County. K12 students can report suicide, bullying/cyberbullying, drugs on campus, and more. All reports are taken seriously and detailed information is gathered to help students and keep the community safe. Students often know things that local law enforcement or school staff do not. When shared, this information can help prevent tragedies from occurring. The Omaha Police Department has coordinated partnerships with Boys Town Nebraska, Endangered Missing Advisory (EMA), school districts, third-party IT vendors, and the community. The AWS portal application is the entry point for students to provide tips, and then all tips are routed to a third-party vendor application and triaged by Boys Town staff who are highly trained in mental services and deescalation. The nature of the tip will ultimately determine how it is routed after the counselors collect as much information as possible.

Medical PreCheck and Point of Dispensing (POD) Locator Applications prepare the State of Minnesota for rapid responses to public health emergencies, where efficient distribution of medications to an exposed (potentially large) population can save lives. During an emergency, POD sites allow for rapid distribution of life-saving medicine and treatments. The PreCheck App allows users to receive safe medication with an online pre-screening form. The POD Locator finds the nearest point of distribution for medication, along with public transportation and parking information. This app takes into consideration changing locations, medication availability, and other items so that the medication given is correct, available, and easy to locate. This application would only be used in an emergency and could scale from a single instance to thousands quickly using AWS Auto Scaling.

In collaboration with MIT, Carroll School researchers developed cognitive programs that improve academic outcomes for children who struggle with learning to read. Using engaging computer activities, Carroll's Targeted Cognitive Intervention™ (TCI) drives communication between critical neural regions, improving word identification and reading fluency. This method builds capacities rather than content-specific skills. By improving the brain’s ability to function efficiently and integratively, TCI gives students a cognitive “toolbox” that carries them through their academic careers. With TCI, students at the Carroll School have nearly doubled growth in sight word efficiency, closing the achievement gap with typical learners. Thousands of students have participated in the program. In 2017, the Carroll School began a Pilot Program to validate that TCI could be delivered at other institutions. The TCI platform currently has over 1,400 students and over 200 teachers, administrative, and research and analysis users across four schools.

The City of Johns Creek, Georgia developed an automated call center based on Amazon Connect that answers citizens' phone calls using data from the city's open data portal and an Amazon Lex bot. The goal of the call center is to answer questions efficiently and provide a foundation for answering calls more intelligently using AWS technologies. With the Amazon Connect framework, Amazon Lex gives the city the ability to accurately respond to common questions quickly, enables citizens to have access to open data through their phones, and lays a foundation upon which the city can build more improvements like the ability to automatically detect the language of the caller and respond in that same language. By using AWS, Johns Creek can now deliver a higher level of service and an improved level of service in the future.

THN is building out a Homeless Data Sharing Network that will allow different homeless crisis response systems and social service providers to communicate and coordinate resources to house frequent system users and better understand the nature of homelessness across Texas. Increasing collaboration between these entities will allow the state to use data-driven insights to identify housing resources and predict trends in homelessness, as well as establish a closer relationship in the fight to end homelessness. They will reduce inefficiencies that arise from having different data systems and geographic overlays, increase the use of current resources, and place a greater number of its chronic homeless population into housing. This will also remove inefficiencies around duplicate paperwork and other administrative overhead. With the data, they can identify patterns to learn more about the population they serve and better understand the nature of homelessness. Working with AWS, THN developed a prototype for the data warehouse portion of its Data Sharing Network using the AWS Management Console to work with different databases and test the sharing of anonymized data.

Community Solutions aims to achieve a lasting end to homelessness that leaves no one behind. One of the biggest barriers to ending homelessness is the lack of actionable data in communities. Working with AWS and Tableau, Community Solutions is helping communities use the data they collect to inform their work and track their results. Through its Built for Zero Collaborative, they are establishing proof-points that this is possible by working with 84 vanguard cities and regions in 31 states to reach this goal, beginning with ending chronic and veteran homelessness. They are helping communities create problem-solving teams, collect and use data that enables actionable insights in real time, streamline and target local resources and responses, and drive measurable reductions in homelessness at the population level.

The ICAC Data System (IDS) is a web application that provides tools and support to assist law enforcement investigating suspected child predators. The application facilitates the transfer of NCMEC CyberTips across all 50 states, 61 task forces, and three federal agencies as these abuses often occur across jurisdictional boundaries. Its tools automate agency deconfliction, enable faster collaboration, and reduce administrative hurdles. This reduces the time required for investigators to react to new CyberTips from days to minutes — maximizing the time spent investigating these crimes to expedite saving children and bringing those who would exploit them to justice. The system has more than 6,500 active users and 11,000 total users. All users are credentialed federal, state, and local law enforcement, district attorneys, forensic analysts, and support staff who specialize in investigating Internet crimes against children. ICAC aims to connect law enforcement globally to combat child sexual exploitation. Using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) tools on AWS, they can reduce investigator fatigue and identify suspects expeditiously across multiple platforms including social media to save children from future and repeated abuses.

The digital wallet is a web-based platform where citizens, specifically people experiencing homelessness or housing instability, could safely and securely store, retrieve, and share vital records as an alternative to physically storing or carrying documents. The digital wallet would store verified documents, including a participant’s social security card, birth certificate, and proof of income. In addition, participants would be able to share the contents of their digital wallet at any time with participating government agencies when applying for housing and supportive services. Over 2,500 people experiencing homelessness would have access to upload sensitive documents to their digital wallet, along with thousands of more people applying for housing and benefits. The Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services and the Department of Social Services would be able to register as city agencies to assist clients that choose to use the digital wallet when applying for permanent housing or supportive services. The project can be applied across government agencies and services that require verifying vital documents, which would increase the number of users and have a major impact in the local community.

The Framework for Addiction Analysis and Community Transformation (FAACT) is a secure data-sharing platform that helps communities around the Commonwealth combat Virginia’s opioid addiction crisis. The platform, delivered by Qlarion in partnership with Socrata and AWS, combines previously siloed data from across different agencies and local organizations to generate insights about the contributing factors to opioid abuse and the most effective ways for communities to respond. With this information, Commonwealth leaders can identify users who need help now as well as those who may be more susceptible to opioid abuse in the future. By bringing in multiple stakeholders to address the opioid crisis, Virginia is building an innovative, repeatable framework that will enable the Commonwealth to apply a similar model in addressing homelessness, early childhood education, employment, and more.

The Baltimore City Health Department provides critical outreach and response services for emerging public health threats. However, these activities are limited by the speed and quality of data available. The city’s system allows the health department to direct resources to address public health concerns before they become crises. By mapping key public health indicators, both geographically and over time, changes in trends will be detectable by BCHD analysts as soon as the data is received. They hope to extend this platform to ingest hospital admissions data and predict public health challenges before they are critical — revolutionizing public health. With the initial system, they have seen data analysis time fall by an order of magnitude. These metrics will ultimately be seen in the number of lives saved, but initially, they are looking at the processing pipeline, which has never been looked at before. They generated over 200 alerts of spikes for overdose events. Using AWS, they will expand the breadth of health challenges impacting the city and provide real-time alerts to citizens.

The Reliance eHealth Collaborative (Reliance) exists to break down data silos and make data work better for the patients it's meant to serve. Reliance works with the Rogue Challenge group in Southern Oregon to develop a universal screening tool for social risk factors and stressors that are known to drive well-being for patients. They would like to pilot the implementation of an instance of a RedCAP tool on AWS to replace a paper-based screening form and allow the data to integrate into a HIE data warehouse to advance whole-person care coordination in the region. The current "broad screener" is a useful tool that asks patients to identify a need or stressor among a list of well-known risk factors (food, transportation, and housing insecurity). In the Rogue Challenge group, healthcare and social service partners will refer a client who has identified a stressor to an appropriate service provider. The paper-collected data does not lend itself to integration with modern software capabilities. By developing a HIPAA-compliant screening tool that can integrate with the data platform in the HIE, they can leverage their patient matching-technology and add the social risk screening data into the patient-centered Community Health Record, providing the information for better care coordination.

The Face-to-Face (F2F) Child Welfare Data System was created to support Indian Child Welfare Agencies in meeting the federal data reporting requirements. Additionally, their organizational values drive us to build internal staff capacity by mirroring the child welfare practice and processes of each sovereign Tribal nation they serve. They configure the F2F system in a way that streamlines complicated processes to increase positive outcomes and services for children and families in these communities. By providing system administration training, they empower agency staff to manage their own data and system development, allowing Tribal nations to maintain the highest level of sovereignty.

To serve DC residents, particularly the underserved and uninsured, the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority (HBX) works with local organizations to conduct in-person outreach. Its partners must receive high-quality, culturally appropriate training to best serve its residents. Using the AWS Cloud, DC implemented the open source Moodle training tools to develop culturally relevant, always available training modules to arm its partners with the information they need to serve local, underserved communities, while saving HBX tens of thousands of dollars in software licensing fees annually. They believe that 100% of DC residents should have affordable, quality heath coverage and the best way to reach hard-to-reach communities is through trusted community organizations. Through this solution, they arm its partner organizations with culturally relevant information so they can get out into their local communities and get residents enrolled in high-quality health insurance at affordable prices.

The proposed project seeks to expand DPW, MOED, and CWEA’s YH2O Youth Mentorship Program through the introduction of an IT component and its application within the water industry to combat environmental injustice. The IT pilot program will build upon each phase of YH2O by providing professional development and experience for youth in minority and underserved communities throughout Baltimore to ultimately receive long-term employment. The program will also address inequities commonly seen in Baltimore’s workforce by supporting underserved youth with transportation to attend on-the-job training in IT and the water industry, while also maximizing DPW’s use of AWS services.

In a case of a school shooting, police and school administrators need to know immediately when a gunshot happens, where the gun was fired, and what type of gun was fired. When seconds mean lives, situational intelligence matters. Active Shooter Response Technology (ASRT) provides real-time alerts of the location of gunshots to central dispatch, nearby police and resource officers, and school administrators. ASRT ultrasound analysis distinguishes gunshot ultrasounds from other loud noises. Because ultrasounds do not penetrate hard surfaces, the specific gunshot location can be known and reported immediately. The AWS Cloud and ASRT ultrasound waveform artificial intelligence (AI) processing can further identify gunshot signature metadata such as gun type (shotgun, rifle, pistol) and caliber. Police and school administrators can immediately respond. Just as importantly, having ASRT may deter a shooter from assaulting a school.

As California is subject to thousands of earthquakes every year, ranging from below 3.0 to above 5.0, it’s essential for people to use valuable seconds to reach a safe place before the shaking starts. The City of Los Angeles has always placed a priority on resilience and earthquake preparedness and will be the first city in the U.S. to implement such a warning system application across the local area. With this warning system, users can be warned up to one minute before the earthquake hits. This mobile application is used to identify and characterize an earthquake a few seconds after it begins, calculate the likely intensity of ground shaking that will result, and deliver warnings to people and infrastructure in harm’s way. This can be done by detecting the first energy to radiate from an earthquake, the P-wave energy, which rarely causes damage. With this application, the city can increase earthquake readiness and resiliency, saving lives and improving its ability to respond when the big one hits.

The Iteris ClearGuide™ platform ingests, analyzes, and visualizes speed data, among other transportation safety and sensor data, and provides actionable information on real-time problems, corridors where performance is degrading, and intersections with severe congestion and safety issues. ClearGuide is a web-based, AWS Cloud-hosted service used by agencies across North America to prioritize signal timing, perform before and after studies, and to perform maintenance of traffic during construction and special events. The analytics and resulting visualization enable public agencies including cities, counties, regional agencies, and state departments of transportation to take a data-driven approach for mobility and safety for the traveling public.

The State of New Hampshire’s elections used VoiceXP to build a first of its kind Alexa skill that helps voters get information about polling places, absentee ballots, overseas and uniformed military process, and more. VoiceXP is passionate about innovating with voice technology and helping people. This new voice app shows how voice can help everyone, especially underserved people and people with disabilities, get access to voting and election information. This hasn't been done before, and New Hampshire expects 49 other states to follow suit.

AWS-hosted OmniBallot is the largest online balloting platform in the U.S. Serving over 400 federal, state, and local jurisdictions, OmniBallot delivered online balloting in over 1,000 elections to millions of voters in the US. It was selected by the U.S. Department of Defense, funded in part by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and awarded the 2019 Accessibility in Voting Award presented at the United Nations, OmniBallot helps military, overseas, and disabled voters fully participate in the democratic process. OmniBallot is the platform powering next-generation voting, secured by the scalability, accessibility, and security of AWS. In jurisdictions that have implemented OmniBallot, they have seen voter turnout among voters with disabilities increase by over 300%. In one post-election poll of voters, 51% of voters stated they would not have voted in that election if it had not been for OmniBallot.

Passport exists to help municipalities manage their mobility ecosystems with software solutions for parking, enforcement, permits, transit, micro-mobility, and tolling. Passport provides a mobility management platform that is the central control hub for a city’s transportation environment. City leaders can enable payments for mobility services (such as on-street parking, transit tickets, or digital parking permits), run reports to better understand transportation patterns, and use data to make strategic decisions about how to allocate city resources. To date, Passport has processed nearly 200 million parking sessions. Nearly 10 million digital permits have been sold, reducing the materials needed to create hang-tags and cutting down on in-office resources to hand out physical parking permits. More than 12 million parking citations have been issued, resulting in $350M+ in revenue for cities. Additionally, Passport has helped cities manage fuel emissions with a surcharge for diesel vehicles, resulting in more fuel efficient vehicles and lower emissions in city centers.

Atlas One is a universal public safety communication app that keeps residents and first responders safe. Today, communication platforms can only send data to people or predefined groups, which often fails during emergencies when information needs to be sent to a location or place but it’s unknown who’s there. With Atlas One, data can be sent to places, rather than people or groups. They provide an API that allows any smart city sensor, platform, or 5G iOT device to automatically geo-fence alerts to specific locations during an emergency. Major cities across the globe have millions of sensors, 5G iOT devices, and software platforms that collect public safety data. The problem is that this data is rarely actionable, as it can’t be quickly sent to the citizens and first responders who need it most. Atlas One is a last-mile delivery system for public safety data. They allow any public safety data source to dynamically generate a push notification alert to first responders and citizens in a specific location.

Zero Robotics (ZR) is a free robotics programming competition that allows thousands of middle-school and high-school students to touch space. Student teams learn to code robots to meet game objectives in an AWS-powered coding and simulation environment. Zero Robotics tournaments culminate with the testing of the code written by the top student teams aboard the International Space Station in "zero" gravity. To write their programs. students use the ZR online programming environment, which does not require the installation of any special tools or the purchase of software licenses or entry fees. Therefore, "zero" also stands for "zero-cost" and "zero-configuration." Zero Robotics uses AWS to implement an architecture with front-end and back-end servers connected via a database. The front-end uses AWS Auto Scaling to maintain the user experience and the back-end runs a high-fidelity simulation of the game that will ultimately be run aboard the International Space Station.

Pedestrian fatalities are increasing in the country, especially in New York City where around 4,000 New Yorkers are seriously injured and more than 250 are killed each year in traffic crashes involving pedestrians. Data from existing roadside infrastructure such as cameras can be coupled with the data analytics capabilities of the cloud to enhance pedestrian safety. Video feeds from cameras can be simultaneously uploaded and analyzed in the cloud where factors contributing to accidents such as dangerous pedestrian and driver behavior and roadside conditions will be identified and analyzed. This includes employing machine learning algorithms such as hidden markov models to predict pedestrian safety hazards and recommend preemptive solutions for NYCDOT to improve the conditions of accident-prone locations, modifying traffic routes or pedestrian sidewalks. NYCDOT roadsides cameras monitoring vehicular and pedestrian traffic will be used to help reduce pedestrian accidents.

The app is a consent to search and anonymous reporting system for preventing acts of gun violence. Using the app, a family member of high-risk individuals can arrange for a non-criminal consent search of their homes for unwanted or illicit weapons or drugs. Law enforcement officers can safely confiscate unsafe firearms and/or dangerous contraband and provide referrals to appropriate services for help. Neighbors can also download the app to anonymously report non-criminal incidents of concern with high-risk individuals in their schools, workplaces, and community in the form of text, picture, or video uploads via the app. The Consent-to-Search program in St. Louis emerged during the national epidemic of youth violence in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In its first year, police confiscated 402 guns from juveniles. The program won national recognition. It was covered widely in the media, nominated for a prestigious award, and reviewed by a congressional committee.

Detroit needed a better way to manage and modernize its aging traffic signal network. Using Miovision TrafficLink Intelligent Traffic System platform, Detroit can connect to existing analog signal equipment and add connectivity and intelligence, enabling them to more efficiently measure and manage traffic with a smart city focus. With the help of the AWS-powered tool, approximately 450 of Detroit’s 787 signalized intersections are connected and Detroit has started to better use the system’s expandable potential and reap the benefits of improvements in efficiency, traffic congestion, and safety. Detroit would like to expand the use of this application to a larger portion of its intersections to keep improving on the management and measurement of traffic data.

As industries adjust to accelerating uses of artificial intelligence (AI) and cybersecurity, these fields are facing workforce shortages. St. Vrain’s vision is to empower students to become the next generation of tech leaders. St. Vrain’s Innovation Center, a stand-alone school district facility dedicated to advanced technology-enabled learning, will develop a cybersecurity and AI hub. The program will provide access to AI and cybersecurity education, opportunities to develop industry-recognized skills, and access to work-based learning opportunities for all 15,000 middle and high-school students. AWS will serve as the critical technology of St. Vrain’s new AI and cybersecurity hub. And AWS employees in Colorado will have opportunities to mentor students in the use of AWS services. For example, AWS DeepLens and DeepRacer will allow students and teachers to connect computer vision and machine learning (ML) through one integrated platform. Working with Amazon SageMaker, these tools will allow students and teaches to build, train, and deploy vision-based ML applications. Both of these technologies support the district’s emphasis on authentic learning and applied learning through advanced technologies and could be used district-wide.

Bilab at New York University aims to develop an automated approach for quantifying human perception towards urban environments regarding their restorativeness capabilities. They plan to capture 360° images from GSV and collect citizen responses on the restorativeness of the environment. Next, they plan to disaggregate images into sections and automatically quantify urban design features (volume of trees and visible sky) and develop data-driven models to quantify the impact of urban design features on overall restorativeness of environments. The trained models will be used to provide a restorative perception map to visualize restorativeness scores and quantified design features in neighborhoods. The outcomes enable visualizing and comparing different regions of a city with respect to the perceived impact on human restorativeness. This will provide a rich dataset for researchers to further investigate the characteristics of urban design that impact human experience beyond restorativeness and provide quantified methods and results for comparing city neighborhoods.

The Virginia Beach Open Data portal is built on AWS and designed to create a central repository and user-driven analytics capabilities for data published by the City of Virginia Beach. The Virginia Beach Open Data portal website serves the citizens of Virginia Beach, city employees, educational institutions, private companies, and other interested parties. As several datasets are planned to be made available, the city expects an increase in usage. The platform provides citizens with the ability to create analytics dashboards and have the most updated information curated through data governance. The city plans to scale regionally and support statewide as well as smart cities data exchange initiatives.

Minnesota IT Services (MNIT) partnering with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) aspires to use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies to transform business processes currently reliant on manual review of unstructured data in separate documents. Leveraging cloud technology, MNIT will help MDH Scan documents for personally identifiable information (PII) using AWS Comprehend Medical to transform/redact PII prior to being shared or publicized on the MDH website, Store Electronic Health Records (EHR) and extract targeted information, and search for patterns/trends in citation records suggesting over-administered medications, anomalous care giver actions, or instances of preventable situations to alert programs or researchers when patterns start to form. 

Multi-city data analysis of dockless mobility open data can determine latent mobility demand across any city, including low income and underserved areas. Analysis by University of Pennsylvania's Masters in Urban Spacial Analytics program will include open data from at least five US cities (in contact with Louisville, Austin, Portland, Bloomington, DC, Kansas City) and source code and results will be published online for any other city planners to use when writing policy. When completed, cities will have a methodology to increase ridership and reduce vehicle miles traveled by cars, thus reducing congestion, improving air quality, and making a case for better slow mobility infrastructure on streets (bike/scooter lanes, protection, separation, pedestrian safety). By working on this with open data collaboratively, they can eliminate costs otherwise spent on consulting firms.

The City of Boston has an open data portal (Analyze Boston) located at that is run on Amazon S3. Analyze Boston is regularly accessed by a variety of public and private constituents and features 158 datasets, a user friendly interface, an online GUI to explore and preview the data, and different format data exports. It solves three main problems: data literacy, data transparency, and data distribution. Analyze Boston aims to increase data literacy by increasing access to materials and guides on how to use the open datasets. For each dataset, they provide multiple options for exporting and ingesting the data for an unimaginable array of use cases. Analyze Boston currently has thousands of visits every day from a wide demographic of constituents ranging from industry leaders to students. They featured specific datasets in sponsored hackathons around the Boston area and often direct constituent requests to specific datasets from its open data portal.