July 13, 2009 By Wayne Hanson
Radar detectors -- outlawed in many jurisdictions -- have been upgraded in a sort of "don't get caught" social networking strategy. Red light camera locations are among files that can be downloaded from POI Factory, a GPS user group, or companies such as PhantomAlert that specialize in avoiding radar- and camera-equipped intersections or other locations. There's even an iPhone application called Trapster.
Downloaded to an iPhone or GPS device, the camera locations data provide a warning when a motorist approaches one of the camera-equipped intersections. According to a recent Washington Examiner story, Washington, D.C., Police Chief Cathy Lanier said using such technology was a "cowardly tactic." The article said D.C.'s, 290 cameras provided nearly $1 billion in revenue during a recent three-year period.
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.