Performance Indicators for Smart Cities

By George Babinov, SBS expert.

In recent years the European Union is continuously investing in Smart Cities development. One of the most relevant examples is the CITYkeys Project. Funded by the European Union HORIZON 2020 programme, it aims to develop and validate, with the aid of cities, key performance indicators and data collection procedures for the common and transparent monitoring as well as the comparability of smart city solutions across European cities.

The research institutes cooperate with five cities – Rotterdam, Tampere, Vienna, Zagreb and Zaragoza and EUROCITIES (with more than 100 member cities) to define the needs, analyse existing results and develop recommendations for the use of performance indicators. Additional cities will contribute to the project in order to gather as much evidence and feedback as possible about the practical use, benefits and challenges of key performance indicators (KPIs) and smart city project evaluation frameworks. [1]

The European Standardisation Organisations (ESOs) are also participating in the process. As a base for standards development a CEN/CENELEC/ETSI “Smart and Sustainable Cities and Communities Coordination Group” was established.

In ETSI Technical Committee on Access, Terminals, Transmission and Multiplexing (ATTM), the recently created workgroup “Sustainable Digital Multiservice Cities” (SDMC) already works on its first standard related to Smart Cities: TS 103 463 “Key Performance Indicators for Sustainable Digital Multiservice Cities”. [2]

It is well recognised that Internet of Things (IoT) will play a significant role in Smart Cities project realisation in the context of Horizon 2020 programme. For this reason in the Terms of Reference of workgroup SDMC it is well underlined that it shall closely cooperate with “One Machine to Machine” ETSI technical committee, which is developing standards for the Internet of Things (IoT). And this is the point of intersection with Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) interests, because there are hundreds of them involved in the design, production and implementation of devices accessed and controlled via internet.

New IoT applications providing connectivity, big data and analytics are enabling Smart City initiatives all over the world. These new applications introduce new capabilities such as the ability to remotely monitor, manage and control devices, and to create new insights and actionable information from massive streams of real-time data.

IoT offerings are transforming cities by improving infrastructure, creating more efficient and cost effective municipal services, enhancing public transportation, reducing traffic congestion, and keeping citizens safe and more engaged in the community.

Forward-thinking cities, smart city solution providers and system integrators recognise that in order to realise the full value of IoT cities must not deliver disparate smart city point solutions, but rather enable a secure and scalable IoT infrastructure that integrates multiple systems. [3]

The scope of the standard in development TS 103 463 is to select appropriate indicators that can function as Key Performance Indicators for tracking the progress towards city objectives.

The indicators for smart cities will focus on monitoring the evolution of a city towards an even smarter city. The time component – “development over the years” – is considered as an important feature. The city indicators may be used to show to what extent overall policy goals have been reached, or are within reach. With a starting point – the smart city definition and taking into account the wishes of cities and citizens, the indicators are arranged in an extended triple bottom line sustainability framework, including the themes: People, planet, prosperity, governance and propagation. Under the main themes subthemes conforming to major policy ambitions have been identified and a total of 73 city indicators related to Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) users have been selected. Additional new indicators are suggested to fill gaps in existing frameworks. [2]


[1]    European project CITYkeys deliverable D1.4: “D1.4-CITYkeys_D14_Smart_City_KPIs_Final_20160201”;

[2]    Draft TS 103 463 “Key Performance Indicators for Sustainable Digital Multiservice Cities”, DTS 103 463;

[3]    “Smart Cities”,