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# Civic Experience Platform

The Role and Use of AI In Local Government

Authored by Civic Plus Logo


June 21, 2024
5 min

Artificial intelligence (AI) tools like ChatGPT and Siri have become commonplace in many people’s day-to-day lives. Statista found that in 2023, 90 million Americans used AI-powered tools. That number is estimated to grow to roughly 113 million by the end of this year (2024) and to a staggering 242 million by 2030. It’s clear that AI has surpassed its buzzword status and now permeates nearly every aspect of how we work and play in modern-day society. The use of AI in local government is no exception.

This article explores the current role of AI in local government, common challenges, and how agencies can leverage this technology to streamline operations, optimize workflows, and improve community engagement.

The Role of AI in Local Government

Just as AI has changed how many of us work and interact in personal and professional settings, it’s also impacting how local government operates. After all, providing residents with efficient, reliable, and responsive services is a core function of government. AI holds enormous potential to streamline these efforts, creating more positive civic experiences that lead to increased resident engagement.

From small-town special districts to multi-departmental agencies in cities with massive populations — this time-saving technology is transforming local government operations throughout the United States. Most notably, and perhaps most commonly, local and state agencies are using AI to:

  • Streamline operations
  • Effectively manage assets
  • Enhance resident engagement and communication

Before discussing common challenges and solutions, let’s explore each of these three areas to better understand AI’s role in local government.

Streamlining Government Operations With AI Solutions

Next, we’ll take a look at how AI technology can help streamline local government operations:

Automates Routine Tasks

AI-powered solutions can automate and manage repetitive tasks, giving government employees more time and resources to focus on higher-priority initiatives. Beyond improving staff productivity, using AI for things like data entry and application processing reduces the likelihood of human error. With this risk minimized, services are delivered faster and more accurately — leading to an increase in resident trust and engagement.

Empowers Decision-Making With Predictive Analytics

A less utilized yet incredibly powerful use of AI in local government is its ability to analyze large data sets in real-time. AI can use its analysis to forecast trends and predict future outcomes. For example, by reviewing historical traffic patterns, AI can provide data-informed recommendations for optimizing road maintenance schedules and reducing congestion. Additionally, AI-powered analytics can offer insights into population growth to ensure development projects are sustainable in the short and long term.

Improves Community Safety and Security

AI enhances community safety and security by monitoring and analyzing various data sources. Advanced AI systems can detect unusual activity and potential threats, enabling law enforcement to respond swiftly and proactively. For instance, AI-powered surveillance cameras can identify suspicious behavior, reducing the likelihood of incidents escalating into serious threats. Additionally, AI can analyze crime patterns to predict and prevent future occurrences, ensuring a safer environment for residents.

Related Read: Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) Security Best Practices for Local Government Systems

Using AI to Improve Asset Management

AI supports better asset management in the following ways:

Empowers Smart Infrastructure Management

AI-driven technologies enable smarter management of city infrastructures, such as energy grids, water supply systems, and waste management. For instance, AI can optimize energy usage in public buildings, ensuring efficiency and cost savings. Additionally, predictive maintenance powered by AI can identify and address issues like water leaks before they escalate, promoting sustainable resource management.

Forecasts Infrastructure Needs and Maintenance Schedules

AI’s predictive analytics capabilities allow local government agencies to accurately forecast infrastructure needs and plan maintenance schedules. By analyzing historical data and usage patterns, AI can predict when and where maintenance will be required, minimizing disruptions and extending the lifespan of public assets. This proactive approach ensures that infrastructure remains reliable and cost-effective over time.

Optimizes Resource Allocation

AI helps local governments optimize the allocation of resources such as emergency services and public works. By analyzing patterns and predicting future needs, AI ensures that resources are deployed where they are most needed, improving service efficiency and responsiveness. This strategic use of AI enhances operational effectiveness and ensures that taxpayer dollars are used more efficiently.

Enhancing Resident Communication and Engagement

AI technology enhances resident communication and engagement in the following ways:

Makes Public Services More Efficient

AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants streamline public services by handling resident inquiries quickly and accurately. This technology reduces wait times and provides instant access to information, significantly improving the overall resident experience. Local governments can allocate human resources to more complex tasks by automating routine interactions, increasing service delivery efficiency.

Enhances the Accuracy of Communication Delivery

AI improves the accuracy and relevance of communication between local governments and residents. By analyzing data from various sources, AI can tailor messages to specific demographics and communities, ensuring that information reaches the right people at the right time. This targeted approach amplifies the effectiveness of government communications, leading to better-informed residents.


The Future of Resident Services Is Here — And It’s Automated

Boosts Community Engagement

AI tools help local governments gauge public sentiment and identify community concerns through social media analysis and other public forums. By understanding what matters most to residents, governments can engage more meaningfully, address issues promptly, and foster a stronger sense of community. Proactive engagement builds trust and encourages active participation from residents in local governance.

AI and Government: Overcoming Challenges and Embracing Opportunities

Along with the many opportunities shared above, AI technology presents challenges that local agencies must overcome when adopting these solutions.

Common Challenges, Solved.

  • Data Privacy: Protecting sensitive information should always be a top priority. Comprehensive data protection policies and secure AI systems are essential to maintain public trust.
  • Workforce Readiness: As AI technology evolves, it’s crucial for government employees to receive continuous training. This ensures proficiency with new tools and methodologies, allowing staff to effectively leverage AI technology.
  • Budget Constraints: Just as the initial cost of AI technology can be substantial, so can the long-term return on investment (ROI). Agencies must carefully plan and allocate resources to support initiatives while balancing other budgetary needs until the ROI of AI can be realized.
  • Resistance to Change: Implementing AI can be met with resistance from both employees and the public. Clear communication about the benefits and training programs can help mitigate any potential pushback.

By overcoming these challenges, local governments can benefit from AI’s full potential, driving innovation and creating more responsive, efficient, and resilient communities.

Curious About AI Technology for Your Local Government Agency?

As the adoption of AI in local government continues to rise, the potential for innovation and efficiency grows exponentially. While challenges such as data privacy, workforce readiness, and budget constraints need to be addressed, the long-term benefits of AI — such as time and cost savings — are undeniable.

CivicPlus® is proud to offer AI-powered solutions purpose-built for local government, designed to streamline operations and improve community engagement. By leveraging these advanced technologies, local governments can create more efficient, responsive, and resilient communities, ultimately enhancing the quality of life for residents.

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Authored by Civic Plus Logo


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