Arlington Named No. 1 Digital County in the U.S.

Published on July 13, 2022

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Arlington County continues to be a national leader in technology, once again being recognized as the No. 1 Digital County by the Center for Digital Government and the National Association of Counties. The 2022 award marks the fifth time that Arlington has received the top honor in the 150,000-249,999-population category.

The Digital Counties Survey Award provides an annual measure of technology performance and innovation through an in-depth review of the programs and plans of counties across the nation, recognizing best practices in the areas of open government, transparency, public engagement, strategic planning, shared services, cybersecurity and operations. Arlington County’s work to advance innovation while ensuring privacy protections is exemplified with its Safety and Innovation Zone Demonstration project. Additionally, the County’s commitment to digital equity and collaboration with regional partners and the business community were highlighted as reasons for the first-place recognition.

"It is an honor to be recognized as a leading smart community. This award is a testament to Arlington’s investments in technology to better serve our residents, bolster the business community, and create an environment where innovative companies can thrive,” said Katie Cristol, Arlington County Board Chair. “As a result, the County has become a hub for top tech talent, driving even greater interest in our area.”

The County’s work to help establish an Innovation District in National Landing alongside local developer JBG SMITH also received praise for its strategic planning and successful collaboration. Announced last year, the agreement allows JBG SMITH to lease a share of County-owned excess dark fiber and conduit access in National Landing to provide cost-competitive and reliable access to high-speed wired or wireless (5G) data-transmission to promote economic and community development. The County further benefited by receiving funds from JBG SMITH to support its digital equity goals.

“Over the past several years, JBG SMITH has been working to create a first-of-its-kind 5G Smart City in National Landing to attract entrepreneurs, universities, and global technology companies by providing them with the digital infrastructure necessary to shape the future of their industries,” said Adam Rashid, Senior Vice President and Head of Smart Cities & Digital Infrastructure at JBG SMITH. “Throughout this journey, Arlington County has proven to be a progressive leader and indispensable partner in realizing this shared vision. Our agreement with the County, alongside additional strategic collaborations with telecom companies and information technology leaders, will ensure our customers, current and future, have access to the most secure and robust digital infrastructure available so they can succeed and thrive in National Landing.”

The County and JBG SMITH aim to use the Innovation District, in partnership with the business community, as a testbed for innovation in the next generation of artificial intelligence, internet of things (IoT), augmented and virtual reality, autonomy, cloud and edge computing, and cybersecurity, while continuing to explore future possibilities for public-private partnerships in technology innovation.

"This award acknowledges that Arlington is committed to empowering businesses through technology,” said Shannon Flanagan-Watson, Interim Director of Arlington Economic Development. "By investing in cutting-edge fiber optics and cybersecurity, Arlington shows the business community that it is fostering an environment where companies can grow and be successful. We will continue to foster public-private partnerships to make Arlington an innovation capital.”

Arlington County will receive the Digital Counties Survey Award at the National Association of Counties Annual Conference & Exposition in Aurora, Colo., on July 21.