Washington, D.C., Portland, Oregon, and New York, New Orleans and Los Angeles Achieve Top Rankings in Municipal E-Governance Survey

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Rutgers-San Francisco State University Municipal E-Governance Survey Ranks Washington, D.C. #1


This release has been updated to include a link to the full report.

(Newark, NJ) — A national survey of city websites has identified Washington, D.C., as the top-ranked city in the performance of municipal e-governance. The research study was conducted jointly by the E-Governance Institute, School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers University, Newark, and the Department of Public Administration at San Francisco State University.

The survey evaluated municipal websites in the areas of privacy, usability, content, service, and citizen participation and ranked the cities nationally. Co-sponsored by the Public Technology Institute, the study listed the following cities among the top five in digital governance: Washington, D.C., Portland, Oregon, and New York, New Orleans, and Los Angeles. These cities will be awarded the Municipal Web Portal Excellence Awards at the Public Technology Institute’s Technology Solutions and Innovations Conference, being held in San Diego on May 11-12 at the San Diego Sheraton Hotel and Marina.

“The E-Governance Performance Index used for the survey is a set of benchmarks that spotlight high levels of performance and foster high expectations for improved web-based municipal service delivery,” states Dr. Marc Holzer, dean of the School of Public Affairs and Administration and director of the E-Governance Institute at Rutgers University in Newark.

“Washington, D.C.’s website is a great example of how civic engagement can impact government positively,” adds Dr. Alan Shark, executive director and chief executive officer of the Public Technology Institute. “The site was built and improved with input from the community and provides progressive capabilities that serve its citizens and visitors well.”

Based on the evaluation, the top 10 cities in the Rutgers E-Governance Survey are:

Top 10 Cities in Digital Governance Nationwide – 2008 

Rank        City    State    Score
1        Washington, D.C.     67.64
2        Portland    OR    62.23
3        New York    NY    61.66
4        New Orleans    LA    61.15
5        Los Angeles    CA    58.64
6        Salt Lake City    UT    57.66
7        Minneapolis    MN    56.52
8        Boston    MA    55.81
9        Columbus    OH    55.78
10        Seattle    WA    55.28

The study systematically utilizes the comprehensive Rutgers E-Governance Performance Index by classifying 98 measures into five categories: privacy, usability, service, content, and citizen participation. Evaluating each municipality’s website to examine how citizens interact with their government online, the survey highlights the strengths and weaknesses of each municipality in terms of the five areas and then ranks the municipalities within each category and on an overall basis.

Washington, D.C., also has been ranked first overall in the categories of usability and citizen participation. The Washington, D.C., website is a prime example of government effectively engaging citizens online and providing services that increase efficiency and effectiveness. Washington, D.C.’s website provides web access that allows citizens to pay utility bills, renew driver’s licenses, and view public records. Geospatial Information System (GIS) capability allows visual access to city communities, museums, national buildings, rail and bus lines or the entire city. An additional feature of D.C.’s website is CapStat, a sophisticated performance measurement system that allows citizens to track the performance of individual agencies, analyze neighborhood statistics, and monitor how the government is addressing particular issues.  This underscores a growing tendency among municipalities to publish performance measurement data on their websites.

The e-governance study highlights municipalities’ focus on usability and content, and the need for further attention in the area of privacy, services and citizen participation. About half of all cities evaluated have websites with emergency management features or alert mechanisms (severe weather, epidemics, etc.), and approximately 13 % provide disability access for the blind. Cities have yet to recognize the importance of involving and supporting citizen participation online. Only 5% of all cities evaluated provide online bulletin board or chat capabilities for gathering citizen input on public issues and about 11% provide a mechanism allowing comments or feedback through online forms to individual departments/agencies.

Among the regional rankings, the cities in the Midwest ranked highest with an average score of 45.84. Those in the West ranked second with a score of 41.41, followed closely by the South and Northeast with scores of 41.40 and 39.03, respectively. The midwestern cities also ranked the highest on average, in all five categories.

Average Score of Cities by Region

The continued study of municipalities nationwide, with the next evaluation planned in 2010, will further provide insight in the direction and performance of e-governance throughout the United States. The Rutgers E-Governance Institute will also be conducting its fourth Global E-Governance Survey in the fall of 2009, evaluating the status of e-governance in the largest municipalities in 100 of the world’s most “wired” countries. The E-Governance Institute is a program of the School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers University in Newark, which U.S. News & World Report recently ranked 9th in Information and Technology among graduate programs in public affairs and administration in the United States.


Founded in 2006, the Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) at Rutgers-Newark is the first new school established at Rutgers University in more than 20 years. SPAA’s mission encompasses competence, diversity, knowledge and service, and the school equips future leaders and educators with the tools necessary to efficiently and effectively deliver government services. It is the only such school at a public university in New Jersey. SPAA enhances New Jersey’s capacity to develop more effective government at all levels, offering degree and non-degree programs, research and technical assistance to make government more transparent to citizens. The school’s many initiatives include a national network on performance measurement and reporting, a municipal public performance measurement system, and the development of the E-Governance Institute. For more information on SPAA, visit

Media Contact: Dr. Marc Holzer

Contact: Aroon Manoharan