Two pilot programs intended to improve access to state government and also reduce fraud will be evaluated by RTI International.

The programs will be launched in Pennsylvania and Michigan under a $2.4 million grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. That grant includes $300,000 awarded to RTI to evaluate the impacts of the programs.

The programs envision an “identity ecosystem” that will allow people to choose from a number of private and public credentials to prove they are who they say they are online. A verified online identity would eliminate the need to create logins for every web site a person visits, thus improving both access and security, explained Alan O’Connor, a senior economist at RTI who is the evaluation director.

“We will use our expertise in technology economics and public services evaluation to measure the extent to which the new digital identities improve service provision and lower costs,” O’Connor said in a statement.

RTI researchers will compare the service operations for each pilot and conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the impacts of the programs. They will also interviews pilot site administrators and participants to better understand the performance of the programs.