How can citizens help cities run more smoothly? What if cities could share software and data with other cities, learning from each other’s successes to conquer similar challenges? New York nonprofit OpenPlans, founded by transportation advocate Mark Gorton, builds tools for governments to do this, and more. Cities spend billions of dollars on closed-source technology to facilitate everything from intranets to building permits to transit operations. OpenPlans builds open software and consults city agencies on how to implement open-computing platforms to help them run more efficiently. For NYC’s Department of Transportation, for example, OpenPlans developed Shareabouts, a mapping tool that allowed citizens to suggest locations for the city’s new bikeshare system. It’s just one of many projects that advances their mantra, “Information is the currency of democracy.”
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