A Catalog of Civic Data Use Cases


How can data and analytics be used to enhance city operations?

What kinds of operations-enhancing questions have cities asked and answered with data and analytics? The catalog below is an ongoing, regularly-updated resource for those interested in knowing what specific use cases can be addressed using more advanced data and analysis techniques.

For examples that are currently being implemented in cities across the country, you can click to expand the question to see additional information about the solution.  All other examples represent potential questions that cities could work to address with data and analytics.

We welcome further submissions to the list by email.  Submissions can include either current examples of how cities are addressing specific operational or policy issues with data, or ideas for how to address issues that you hope cities will one day be able to answer.





  • Can we determine where unsafe housing problems are unlikely to be reported through 311?
  • How can we use analytics to prioritize accessibility inspections for building alterations, and make sure they are compliant with municipal building code and state accessibility requirements?
  • Who is most likely to be guilty of financial crimes and fraud?
  • How can inspectors reduce response time to maintenance complaints?
  • How can we prioritize annual elevator safety inspections?  For example, can we predict or identify which elevators pass every year and could be outsourced to a 3rd party?
  • How can we predict vacant or abandoned buildings before they reach that status?  To do so, can we use court foreclosure filings, US Postal “undeliverable” data, tax information, and data outside government, such as utility bill records?
  • Which construction / renovation projects are the highest risk / should be inspected first?
  • Which buildings are the highest risk / should be inspected first?
  • Which equipment (such as boilers, elevators, cranes, vehicles, etc.) is the highest risk / should be inspected first?
  • What variables affect inspector productivity and which can be most easily influenced? What distinctions can be made between inspectors who complete a high number of inspections and those who are at the bottom end?
  • Based on the relationship between inspections and violations, what building inspection regimens are most effective at preventing violations from occuring?
  • How many inter-agency inspections are conducted each year? Do they effectively detect current violations?
  • Which city debts are least likely to be paid?
  • Which taxpayers are least like to pay?
  • What city blocks need more inspection enforcement?
  • Which businesses are most likely to be violating weights and measures?
  • How can we determine what businesses will have over-occupancy issues, including multiple incidents of over-crowding?
  • How can we tap social media for information on illegal businesses?
  • What property owners, architects, developers, businesses and landlords need more regulatory enforcement?
  • How can we use social media to ensure licenses are conducting legal business?
  • Can we predict which stores sell cigarettes to youth?
  • How can we target stores that sell outdated food or expired baby formula?
  • Does the order of inspections (building, health, or fire) increase the rate of violation?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s