How AI is helping states and local governments work smarter

The rapid pace of change in our world shows no signs of slowing down, and with this rapid change comes heightened expectations from citizens and society. The digital age demands more speed, efficiency and simplicity in all areas of life. To rise to the occasion, governments need to be more tech-savvy and more open-minded to digital transformation.

To do this, some governments are turning to new AI technologies. Although the term AI may seem ambiguous, its potential and applications are quite concrete. AI can improve mobility, advance education, protect food and water safety, reduce emissions, prevent crime, increase cross-border security and even save lives.

Let’s look at a few ways AI can improve and reshape the operations of government agencies.


Using AI-powered chatbots and other self-service platforms gives governments the ability to communicate with citizens when and how they want. Rather than being limited to the ability of employees to receive, route and answer calls, chatbots use automated systems to analyze messages with natural language processing and route them to the appropriate departments.

Citizens can also use these chatbots to report traffic accidents, infrastructure issues, and other public safety hazards, or get needed information from the city. In turn, employees have more time to handle the important task of resolving issues. Even better, citizens can more easily and quickly resolve their questions and concerns at any time of the day.

The city of San Jose, California is a prime example. The city created the My San Jose app, a mobile self-help platform and 311 system. More than 45,000 residents now use My San Jose to interface with their local government, giving officials a dashboard in real time of citizens’ requests. Staff were able to prioritize resources for issues such as illegal dumps and abandoned vehicles, and redundant calls were reduced by approximately 20%.


AI offers great insights and opportunities for improvement as governments better understand traffic of all kinds by using historical and real-time data to forecast demand and ensure services are always available at the right time. It can also identify areas that are most prone to traffic jams and traffic jams.

The city of Las Vegas, for example, has invested in the intelligent automation of vehicle traffic information. The city has applied AI to its connected and autonomous vehicle initiatives in its downtown area. Lyft has conducted trials with 40 self-driving cars, and the latest Audi cars can also receive data streams from the city.


Governments can also use AI and analytics to determine home values ​​in their areas, as Los Angeles County has done. As the nation’s largest local appraisal agency, the Los Angeles County Assessor’s Office reviews more than 400,000 property documents and performs 500,000 physical property appraisals each year. More than 75,000 homes are sold each year in this 5,000 square mile county, making it difficult to assess each residence. Officials at the LA County Assessor’s Office used machine learning and artificial intelligence to calculate whether a home’s sale price was reasonable. Using 10 years of data – some 300,000 records – appraisers halved the need for in-person appraisals and were able to efficiently calculate the value of some 2.6 million properties.


AI has great potential to keep citizens safe. Local and state leaders can also use AI and predictive analytics to determine which areas of their cities and states are most vulnerable to potential impacts from storms and other natural disasters. This data helps them identify and prioritize how to dispatch rescue teams and which affected areas and issues to address first.

Governments can also turn to smart technologies to meet sustainability goals with things like smart waste management systems. Bin sensors can monitor trash levels in real time via a cloud-based dashboard. Once a container is filled, the system automatically triggers an alert for the city’s fleet of garbage trucks to service the location. Instead of the bins being emptied at set times throughout the week, they are only emptied as needed.


While much of the attention to AI innovation tends to focus on the private sector, public sector organizations have ample opportunity to adopt and implement AI solutions. AI to improve the lives of those they serve. AI will have a significant impact on how citizens experience and interact with government, and it can be a great tool for increasing government efficiency.

Organizations can apply AI to tackle tasks such as image recognition and document analysis; speech and language recognition for native and non-native speakers; anomaly detection to report incidents and fraud; data labeling; predict critical business metrics, from revenue to resource needs, etc., and the potential of AI will only grow. For state and local organizations, AI will be key to finding more meaning in the treasure troves of information already existing in their business applications, ultimately making processes more efficient and freeing up time and resources to focus on the experience. citizens.

To take advantage of all that AI has to offer, public sector organizations need a clear vision and concrete commitment from management to adopt AI in intelligent and transformative ways, and to ensure their staff have the opportunity to learn the skills necessary to thrive in an AI-infused world.

Maria D. Ervin