We are a nation of goal-setters — we set a goal, work toward it and track our progress until we reach it. From how many pounds we’ve lost to how much money we’ve saved, it’s how we learn to do better. The same is true at the Office of Sustainability in Austin, Texas, where officials recently launched a new dashboard to boost transparency and track citywide progress with sustainability initiatives.
Housed on the city’s website, the dashboard is an open data portal that covers information across about 50 performance indicators and is organized into 10 categories, including climate, built environment, ecosystems, food & health, zero waste, economy & creativity, water, mobility, equity & livability, and energy.
Each category lists the city’s vision, goal and current performance based on four years of collected data. For example, the Climate section of the dashboard shares that the city’s goal was to “reduce the carbon footprint for the city of Austin operations to 51,913 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions by December 2015,” and shows that the goal was achieved.
The dashboard also shares areas that need improvement; such as Zero Waste. The city fell short of its goal of 52 percent recycled waste, reaching just 21 percent waste recycled at city buildings. Each section also includes a link for individuals to explore the raw data to better understand where the numbers are coming from.
Funded as part of the Office of Sustainability’s operations, the dashboard served as a tool to unify sustainability efforts.