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March, 2019

City Planning Technology 2019 Benchmarking Study

Chris Steins
Chris Steins
Founder & Senior Advisor

University of San Francisco School of ManagementUrban Insight, in partnership with the University of San Francisco School of Management, has released a new report about the current state of Internet technologies, policies, and content management systems adopted by 600 cities across the United States, including recommended steps cities should take to improve technology assets in 2019.

The City Planning Technology 2019 Benchmarking Study appears on Planetizen.

The purpose of this benchmarking survey (the third in a series, with previous reports from 2015 and 2017) is to evaluate the state of technologies used by cities, the adoption of policies to govern technology-enabled practices (such as short-term rental housing, ride-hailing services, and autonomous vehicle services), and to determine how cities respond to the demands of citizens and businesses they serve.

Among the key findings:

  • 12% of U.S. cities have an autonomous vehicle policy.
  • 19% of cities have adopted an ordinance related to short-term lodging policy (e.g., Airbnb, VRBO).
  • 47% of the cities surveyed offer online permitting.
  • 24% of cities have adopted policies for transportation network companies (TNCs) (e.g., Lyft, Uber) or policies that regulate how TNC vehicles traverse the city.
  • 88% of city planning departments offer their zoning code online.
  • 28% of the cities surveyed have open data portals
  • 61% of city planning departments use a web content management system.
  • Responsive design increased by 20% since 2017
  • 58% of cities offer an online GIS tool to search for properties.
  • 10% of city planning departments do not offer their general plan online.

The report focuses on the websites of city planning departments as one of the most common places citizens interact with government—on topics related to their homes, jobs, and travel habits. Citizens and businesses are increasingly accessing public documents via mobile phones and tablets and using new forms of geospatial and location-based data from planning websites. According to the Pew Research Center, six in ten U.S. adults get news and information via mobile phones, with younger populations and non-whites being even more likely to use mobile phones for those purposes. The goal of this study is to quantify how cities are meeting these new and emerging demands.

Read the full study on Planetizen.