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.

Winners - Constituent Services Award

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

Winners - Sustainability and Equity Award

Winners - Powered by AWS Award

Winners - Dream Big Award

Winners - Public Dataset Award

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The HomeSafe1st 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.

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 data.boston.gov 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.