Next American City's Christian Madera explores how cities can find operational and budgetary benefits by opening up their data.
"Fortunately, the need to provide information to the public and government's need for revenue are not mutually exclusive. Open data efforts have the potential to create new economic value (that is taxed) and reduce operating costs and expeditures – benefits far exceed the measly sums that most agencies receive from data sales. In some cases, it may be difficult to capture some of that revenue and feed it back to the appropriate agency, but in a transit agency's case, the money saved from developing online trip planning services could easily equal the lost revenue from data licensing. Boston's MBTA has been a leader in this regard – launching its own apps contest to encourage developers to create predicative bus and scheduling services."