San Rafael Proud

“This project has empowered everyone who has worked on it to think bigger about providing great digital services to San Rafael."

San Rafael, Calif.

Welcome to San Rafael

San Rafael, Calif., launched its new digital operations, located at, using a holistically innovative approach to how cities will procure and deliver online services to residents, businesses and visitors in the future.

San Rafael (pop. 57,713), the largest city in Marin County, located directly north of San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge, began its digital transformation process in early 2016, and the new web presence marks the beginning of a new digital direction for the city.

The new city platform includes a mobile-friendly interface that adapts to all devices, security protocol to protect visitor privacy and an administrative system that allows internal staff to easily and regularly maintain online services. Key features include predictive search, easy access to frequently asked questions, payments, localized services and issue reporting.


San Rafael researched several options, and the staff tested a trial of the final software prior to making a purchasing commitment. Rather than a traditional RFP-based approach to custom services, San Rafael selected a software-as-a-service and platform option with ProudCity.

San Rafael Senior Management Analyst Rebecca Woodbury shares with Government Technology why partnering with startups was the right fit for the city:

Guiding principles

Rather than focus on technology first, San Rafael started with a set of values to guide its digital modernization efforts. The city approached its vendor partnerships with a set of principles that include:

  • Authentic and responsive engagement
  • Transparency
  • Accessibility (user-centered design, mobile-friendly, ADA compliant)
  • Continuous improvement and learning

“Through this process, we also discovered that we need to change the way we procure technology. So, now we are also embarking on a new journey: updating our process so we can more easily procure the technology of now and the future. Our staff requires 21st century tools because the community deserves 21st century service.”

– San Rafael Senior Management Analyst Rebecca Woodbury

Cross-agency collaboration

The city established a multi-department, metrics-driven Website Implementation Team that currently includes members of the city manager and city clerk’s office, library, community development, economic development, public works, community services, fire department and finance.

Woodbury shares with Government Technology how working with WIT helped cast a wider net for public service innovation:


Prior to formal launch, the city released a test version of the new website for eight weeks to gather internal and external feedback. The Website Implementation Team also conducted user tests with community members at community centers and local gathering places.

Open source/data

The new platform is based on open source software and open application programming interfaces (APIs) that adhere to open source and open data directives established and championed by the federal government.

Social media

San Rafael’s Facebook and Twitter feeds update automatically into the new website. The city also has a first-of-its-kind Facebook integration using the ProudCity Service Center that allows residents to access services directly from Facebook.

“It took us 60 seconds to tie this into Facebook, and we look forward to expanding it to other access points, such as at kiosks at city hall and potentially throughout the city.”

– San Rafael Senior Management Analyst Rebecca Woodbury

Open integrations

The new platform integrates seamlessly with a variety of third-party applications, including Romulus CRM, Granicus and MailChimp, with more to come.


San Rafael’s digital city platform is 100% mobile-friendly and adapts to all devices (phone, tablets, laptops, desktops, kiosks).


The new website includes HTTPS security protocol to ensure visitor privacy.

Streamlined onboarding

With the help of ProudCity Onboarding, San Rafael was able to streamline and expedite the entire launch process.

Continuous improvement

As part of the ProudCity release cycle, San Rafael will receive enhancement upgrades every two-weeks without additional costs beyond pre-established software subscription rates. The city also plans to regularly use site analytics and feedback from user tests to improve the site.

“It’s been a breath of fresh air to work with your team. ProudCity feels like a partner, not just a vendor. I am so proud of what we’ve done together and super excited about what’s ahead. The team has learned so much from working with you. I feel like this project has empowered everyone who has worked on it to think bigger about providing great digital services to San Rafael.”

– San Rafael Senior Management Analyst Rebecca Woodbury

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