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A culture of constant improvement at The City of Calgary.
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RouteAhead was started in 2012 to create a new long term plan for Calgary Transit through extensive public engagement.

Customers can see continuous improvement at work in the RouteAhead project.  Citizens participate in public engagement on the RouteAhead Engagement Bus.   Project team members are front and centre in public engagement, and customers are able to give feedback directly to staff members involved in the project.   Citizens have been prompted by seeing the RouteAhead bus in action to Tweet, blog, email, and phone the RouteAhead team and stay in touch with the progress on the plan. Citizen’s comments are displayed on the side of the bus on large decals so Calgarians can see their input first-hand.

RouteAhead is an example of Transforming Government because it is a new and innovative way to engage citizens for their input about the future of Calgary Transit.  The extensive public engagement phase has created new awareness of Calgary Transit and how customers can have a say in the priorities for the future.  “It’s Your Budget. You Decide” was a highly successful online financial allocation tool that also helped citizens understand the fiscal challenges involved in making improvements to transit service.

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Subdivision and Development Appeal Board Online Reports

The Subdivision and Development Appeal Board holds public hearings relating to appeals on development throughout Calgary. These hearings allow affected Calgarians to voice feedback on proposed developments where they live and work.

When appeals on these developments happen, a report containing the evidence being presented before the quasi-judicial board is prepared. Until recently, hearing participants had to pick up a hardcopy of the report. Now, the hearing reports are easily accessible online at Calgary.ca/sdab, allowing citizens to retrieve and review records that might impact them from the comfort of their homes or businesses.

This addition is an example of Transforming Government because it ensures the process is easier, quicker, convenient and more transparent to citizens. <!--

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Road Conditions App

On December 5, 2011, The City of Calgary released its latest mobile application: The City of Calgary Road Conditions app.

This app provides Calgarians with real-time information on plow/sander locations, road conditions, and traffic cameras, and it helps to answer the three main questions most drivers have about winter road conditions: Are the roads clear? Where are the plows? Is there a Snow Route parking ban in effect?

The application was also designed to send immediate notifications to users of the app whenever a Snow Route parking ban has been advised, declared, or lifted.

Already in the hands of more than 17,000 Calgarians, this app was an important communication tool during the city’s two snow route parking ban events in 2012, and has the unique distinction of being the first mobile application released by a Canadian municipality to reach the #1 position in the iTunes app store.

The application is now available for iOS, BlackBerry, and Android mobile devices.

This is an example of Transforming Government because it is an innovative way to share information with citizens where and when they need it.

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The newly designed CITYonline website was launched on November 28, 2011. CITYonline is an e-commerce storefront which provides mapping services, imagery, environmental products, and data to online customers. Customers include citizens, as well as business such as: registries, law firms, professional associations, real estate agencies, engineering firms, land surveyors and developers.

The new CITYonline system, originally developed in 1991, replaces three legacy systems. The redevelopment includes significant improvements to technology and the overall customer experience.

The redevelopment project, initiated by Infrastructure & Information Services, achieved Council and transforming government priorities to maintain financial sustainability and optimize service delivery for customers and citizens.

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Corporate Project Management Framework Project

The City of Calgary undertakes extensive capital construction projects each year. In 2011, the City Auditor found that capital construction project management practices were inconsistent and lacked transparency. The Corporate Project Management Framework Project (CPMF) was created to lead the process of improving our processes and ultimately the quality of work for selecting, building and reporting on the building of infrastructure/capital projects.

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Municipal Atrium Citizen Information Pilot

Citizens will always need information on The City’s programs and services. The Municipal Complex is the key civic site where The City delivers business services and holds Council and Committee meetings. It is an ideal environment for citizens of Calgary to actively engage or interact with The City of Calgary.

The Citizen Information Pilot aims to provide more information to citizens on services, Council activities and public events. Two information kiosks located in the Municipal Atrium give access to the following frequently searched City information: Council, jobs, event calendars, eServices/3-1-1, interactive maps and a link to Calgary.ca.

This pilot project is driven by a desire to improve civic engagement and ensure Calgarians have the information they need at their fingertips in the heart of their municipal government.

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Green Cart Pilot

The City began a Green Cart food and yard waste pilot involving 7500 homes in four communities in March 2012 to learn from citizens’ experience in developing recommendations for a city-wide composting program. The green carts accept all food and yard waste, which represents nearly 60 per cent of household garbage.

In the first four months, 700,000 kilograms were collected from pilot residents, who reduced their garbage by 40 per cent compared to other communities. This is enough material to produce over 28,000 bags of nutrient rich compost that can be used to enrich the soil in gardens, parks and farms rather than being buried in the landfill where it would have taken up valuable space and produced greenhouse gases. Green carts are helping to reduce the amount of waste ending up in landfills, which is critical to achieving Council’s goal of reducing per capita waste by 80 per cent by 2020.

The green carts make it easy and convenient to compost more material:

  • Green carts accept all food including many materials that cannot be composted in a backyard composter such as meat, bones, dairy products, fish, cooked foods, paper plates, weeds and pet waste. It’s as simple as scraping your plate into the green cart.
  • Year-round weekly collection of green carts allows citizens to set out food and yard waste whenever there is a need. This makes it more convenient for residents as other yard waste collection programs are seasonal in nature and many backyard composters stop composting in the winter.
  • Large volumes of yard waste can be collected and composted. If participants have more yard waste than will fit in their green cart, then they can use sturdy yard waste bags for any excess material.

The pilot embodies the Transforming Government principles as green carts provide an easier way for citizens to further reduce waste. It also allows more than 7,500 households to experience the service and provide their feedback on the program to inform and refine city-wide recommendations. Further, due to the decrease in garbage, the pilot allows The City to test the collection of black carts once every two weeks, which results in more efficient garbage collection.

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Community Stewardship for Biodiversity

The Community Stewardship for Biodiversity (CSB) program began in 2010 as a pilot in three natural areas across Calgary and has grown to include 15 parks with over 400 volunteers donating nearly 1500 hours to protect and sustain the biodiversity of Calgary’s natural areas.

The biodiversity of our natural areas is threatened by invasive species such as Leafy Spurge, Canada Thistle and Goatsbeard. These plants take over natural areas and choke out the native species which can destroy the integrity of the ecosystem. Whenever possible, non-chemical treatments are used to remove these invasive species. However, these types of treatments are time-consuming and require many hands. To better remove these invasive species and educate Calgarians about the processes, Parks created the CSB program which combines volunteer efforts and education sessions.

Volunteers and community groups that participated in the program increased their understanding of the strategic plans and regulations that guide Parks’ practice and were empowered with the knowledge to guide future actions that lead to the health and sustainability of our environment.

The CSB program is an example of Transforming Government through:
  • Sustainability: making a healthy community and environment for now and in the future through the protection of the biodiversity of our natural areas.
  • Transparency: allowing citizens to understand the complex work Parks does through hands-on engagement.
“I know that I make a difference and that’s satisfying. In my role with McHugh Bluff, I have acquired a new respect for the very difficult job of City workers.... “....CSB Volunteer

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Southland Leisure Centre – Going Green Initiatives

Southland Leisure Centre, constructed in 1983 hosts over 1.5 million visitors each year in this 227,000 square foot, large multi-purpose facility that includes a wave pool, twin arenas, gymnasium, racquet courts, climbing walls, gymnastics and fitness facilities all under one roof. Now, with the advent of greener technology, Southland Leisure Centre will use the heat of the sun as solar power to heat domestic and pool water, new energy efficient lighting technology has replaced the old to reduce operating expenses, impact on the environment, and showcase innovation for future building projects.

Southland’s green initiatives are improving cost efficiencies for facility sustainability, providing educational opportunities and allowing The City to innovate and gather new intelligence about the impact of green technologies on old multi-use facilities. The energy efficiencies, decreases in green house gas emissions, and reduced utility and maintenance costs, benefit all Calgarians. Initiatives like this play an important role in building strong communities and contribute to making Calgary a great place to live, work and play.

Southland Leisure Centre’s – Going Green initiatives are an example of Transforming Government as they demonstrate new approaches to building sustainable community places and spaces and offer innovative ways to reduce operating costs and environmental impact. These new approaches will facilitate enhanced recreational opportunities for Calgarians now and into the future.

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Calgary.ca was originally launched in 2002. In response to the advancement of new technologies and expectations from our citizens, in 2007 The City decided to fund improvements for the development of a new web presence. The new calgary.ca provides easy access to The City’s information and services with a search-based concept reducing the need to browse through connected pages and improves the likelihood that users will get what they need on the first click.

In August 2011, we launched the new calgary.ca website with improved Search Engine Optimization that never presumes to know what a user wants but always knows to ask. This innovation reduced the need to browse through connected pages and improved the likelihood that users would get what they need on the first click. In a post-launch usability test conducted by Ipsos Reid, completion rate of tasks on the site was improved by 63 per cent. There was also a fivefold increase in tasks rated as “very easy” to complete — 12 per cent vs. 64 per cent.

This is an example of Transforming Government because the revamp of calgary.ca was designed using with citizens in mind and with the long-term goal of calgary.ca being the channel of choice for City information and services.

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Wall Of Windows

The Wall of Windows’ content and materials have been developed specifically for each window box and these will be refreshed throughout the year. Each window box presents a different take on the overarching theme and offers insights into celebrating our city, a forum for citizen responses, a gallery for art, images or words, an events calendar, and a place to highlight how citizens participate in different activities.

City communicators are constantly looking for new opportunities to communicate with Calgarians about programs, services and what makes this city such a great place to live. The planned refurbishment of the City Hall C-Train platform provided an opportunity to re-design the face of the Municipal Complex to create an innovative, unique communication space to inform and engage the public. Currently, the Wall of Windows is part of a pilot project that will help determine the most effective ways that this space can be utilized to communicate with Calgarians. The City Hall ‘Wall of Windows’ features seven colourful, engaging display boxes located on the exterior of the Municipal Complex along the south platform of the newly constructed City Hall LRT station. The total installation spans 140 feet (~42 metres), and each box is 20’ wide by 8’ high and 4’ deep.

This project invokes the principles of Transforming Government in the following ways:
  • Transparency – The concept of the City Hall Wall of Windows is to provide a ‘window’ into what is going on behind the scenes, so citizens can better understand City projects and services and how they fit into their lives.
  • Accountability – Each window box will state which Council approved vision, such as imagineCALGARY, that the highlighted project or service helps to achieve.
  • Civic Engagement – The City Hall Wall of Windows is designed to showcase projects or services through the eyes of citizens and to use their own voices, quotes, pictures and reactions to projects or services
  • Innovation – This is a new, unique space and channel which engages citizens and delivers information in a place they already use. It also beautifies the platform, making it more enjoyable to pass through.
  • Citizen Orientation – The guiding principles and design of this space ensure that the citizen is the priority. All content is citizen, human and future focused.
  • Sustainability – Each window box relates the content to The City’s future vision, such as imagineCALGARY or the 2020 Sustainability Direction.

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TransitStory, created by artist (and former Calgarian) Jill Anholt and installed outside the 7 Ave. and Centre St. LRT platform in May 2012, showcases 30 sculptures of people, fabricated from steel, artfully painted and lit from below. The "crowd" appears to share a brief moment with the thousands of other commuters embarking and disembarking at the busy station.

This installation is an example of Transforming Government due to its innovative use of public art to enhance this public space and serve a function beyond improved aesthetics. While the project definitely contributes to the on-going 7 Avenue Refurbishment by enriching and enlivening the ridership and pedestrian experience, it also adds to the sense of safety and security of the area. Citizen orientation was also a key contributing factor in that the artist's stated intent was to "intrigue passers-by, drawing them to look closer at the work itself and by extension, explore and discover connections and relationships embodied in the site."

The artwork was made possible through the Public Art Policy and the Transportation department.

For more information about this project and the Public Art Program, visit www.calgary.ca/publicart.

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Toilet Rebate Replacement Program

Saving water is now easier and quicker

The City of Calgary Toilet Replacement Rebate Program has been updated to ensure that toilet selection and rebate application process are easier and quicker.

We made it easier to save water and money by making it simpler for citizens to identify eligible toilets in store and by streamlining the application process. Now all citizens have to do is look for the WaterSense label when they purchase a high-efficiency toilet.

Everyone is winning with the new process, people are getting their $50 rebates much quicker, citizen calls related to toilet eligibility have decreased by 60 per cent and the higher efficiency toilets save 20 per cent more water than their low-flush 6L toilet counterparts.

These changes are examples of Transforming Government because the redesigned program better meets the needs of our citizens and saves even more water without compromising function.

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Cut Red Tape

Red tape adds time and complication when there often doesn’t need to be any. We need to cut red tape to transform government and reinforce that The City of Calgary is here to problem-solve and facilitate the success of Calgarians. By cutting red tape, we are improving customer service and making it even easier to work with The City, and that makes life better for Calgarians.
Cutting red tape is an example of Transforming Government because it is citizen-focused, highlighting where The City is becoming more transparent and accountable.

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Our City. Our Budget. Our Future.

Between February and May 2011, more than 23,000 Calgarians, community organizations, and City employees participated in an extensive stakeholder engagement process. It asked participants about their values and priorities for City services and the pros, cons, and trade-offs of future spending priorities. Participants provided their input through face-to-face community sessions and a variety of online tools.

Our City. Our Budget. Our Future. marked the first time citizens had the opportunity to give their input before the development of The City’s business plans and budgets.

This process was an example of Transforming Government because it directly sought citizen engagement and provided transparency and accountability to Calgary’s citizens.

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Permits are now released instantly through the online system so that work can be carried out expeditiously.
A new online system for trade permit contractors was launched November 2011. It allows electrical, plumbing, gas, fireplace and HVAC contractors the ability to apply, pay, and receive permits online through calgary.ca/vista. Permits are now released instantly through the online system so that work can be carried out expeditiously.
The secure system also allows registered trades to view all their permits, book inspections, and manage their account for greatest security. More information is available at calgary.ca/tradepermits.
The eTrades program is an example of Transforming Government because it directly improves citizen convenience through innovation.
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Calgary Food Truck Pilot

The food truck business is an amazing success across North America, and Calgarians have enjoyed great food on the streets since August 2011. The City of Calgary, in collaboration with several vendors, various Business Revitalization Zones(BRZ’s), and many food enthusiasts teamed up to create a solution to cut red tape to regulate and recognize food trucks as an industry in Calgary.

After an innovative food truck pilot program Calgary City Council amended the business licence bylaw to include food truck as a permanent part of Calgary's streetscape. The new bylaw provides certainty, direction and assist the sustainability of the full service food vehicle industry.

The food trucks program is an example of Transforming Government because it cuts red tape to help businesses work with a more transparent government, engages business and community organizations to meet a citizen demand, and adds to the economic and community sustainability of our city through new and innovative industry.

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The City of Calgary offers many eServices for the convenience of citizen's. Book a tee time, renew your pet licence or contact 3-1-1 online are some of the many services now offered online. You can apply for access to facilities, bid on City contracts, or submit information. You can purchase products or register for a recreation program. You can report a concern or tell how someone helped you. You can request information. And there are more services coming online all the time.

These changes are examples of Transforming Government because they use innovation to improve citizen convenience in our city. 

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Calgary Transit Route 300 BRT Airport / City Centre

Like many cities around the world, with Calgary Transit’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route 300, you can travel directly between the airport and downtown by public transit.

Route 300 links the city centre and Calgary International Airport while providing a number of transfer opportunities. It runs every 30 minutes between 5 a.m. and midnight, seven days a week. Customers boarding at the airport can buy a ‘Calgary Transit Boarding Pass’ — valid for a day or use their Calgary Transit monthly pass, as they would any other Calgary Transit route. Customers can also board the route 300 at any of the stops between downtown and the airport.

The 300 BRT Route is an example of Transforming Government because it a citizen-focused innovation that get’s Calgarians, and visitors, moving.

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Calgary Transit Real-Time information signs

Real-time information for the CTrains is now live at CTrain stations so you can find out how long you have to wait for the next train, in real time, not scheduled time.

Real-time information signs have been installed across the CTrain system, and will be implemented for buses starting in mid-2013. You can also sign up for Transit Email Alerts and Calgary Transit’s Twitter account to get up-to-date information on selected routes, etc.

This is an example of Transforming Government because the new signs directly improve citizen convenience as they bring innovation to our public transit system

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Calgary Transit ticket vending machines

Ticket dispensers on CTrain platforms are a common-enough sight, but in mid-2011 Calgary Transit customers began to notice a lot of changes to the big grey boxes. Now, buying a ticket can be as easy as the swipe of a card or using the change in your pocket. Ticket vending machines along the CTrain line now accept debit and credit cards or provide the exact change back when you use coins.

Credit. Debit. Cash back: These are just the start of big changes for Transit customers paying at the platform for their fare. Keep an eye open in the summer of 2012 for the launch of the Calgary Transit Connect Card, which will let customers make simple electronic payments on trains and buses.

These changes are examples of Transforming Government because they directly improve citizen convenience as they bring innovation to our public transit system.

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A culture of constant improvement at The City of Calgary.
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What is Transforming Government?

Government exists to serve citizens. Every day, citizens are touched by The City of Calgary and the services it offers. Transforming Government is a culture of constant improvement at The City of Calgary — improvement that makes life better for all citizens.

In 2011, Mayor Naheed Nenshi and City Council unanimously agreed to embrace and reinforce this approach to constant improvement — Transforming Government is a way to do just that. So, when you see the Transforming Government stamp on something, you know it is part of something that makes Calgary even better.

A public work, an initiative, project, program or plan marked with Transforming Government reflects one or more of the following principles:

Transparency provides a clear view of exactly what’s going on “behind the scenes”, so citizens can understand why a project or service exists.

Accountability is the clear demonstration of how and why The City has done something, and that The City and Council accept responsibility for the decision, program or plan.

Civic Engagement is a commitment to bring together citizens, organizations, and City employees in the planning and development of our great city.

Innovation describes new ideas, services, or approaches that make living and working in Calgary even better.

Citizen Orientation ensures that a program, project or service is designed with customers or citizens in mind.

Sustainability describes long-term thinking that makes for a healthy community, environment, and economy, now and in the future.

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