Theoretical Framework and Index of Transportation Innovation in Smart Cities: Early Understanding and Best Practices

This project will develop a theoretical framework for policymakers, public agencies, and the private sector to understand the components of a smart city and support the development of smart city policies and implementation.
The proposed study will consist of the following eight key steps:

  1. Literature Review: The project team will conduct and review North American and international literature on Smart City strategies and apply key findings from the literature review to develop: a) a framework for smart cities and pilot projects, as well as b) a protocol for conducting expert interviews, public policy, and best practice/lessons learned analysis.

  2. Advisory Committee: Researchers will develop a smart city advisory group to aid with project development including: the smart city framework, expert interviews, and indexing tool.

  3. ExpertInterviews:Researcherswilldevelopanexpert interview protocol and conduct 10 to 20 expert interviews in up to 10 smart cities in the U.S., including but not limited to Austin, Detroit, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Denver, and Portland.

  4. Smart City Indexing and Analysis: Smart City approaches will be categorized and analyzed based on their approaches (e.g., bottom up vs. top down approaches, renaissance vs. congested city characterizations). Public policies, best practices, and lessons learned will also be cataloged and indexed along basic city metrics (e.g., population density, availability of public transit networks and shared mobility services, employment rates, etc.).

  5. Internal Interactive Webinar: The project team will conduct an interactive webinar to solicit feedback on our findings from our real-world city participants (expert interviews) and advisory committee.

  6. White Paper: The project team will develop a White Paper that introduces the smart city framework for piloting and evaluating projects. This White Paper will also include a synopsis of the project team’s initial smart city assessment and index and recommended next steps.

  7. Infographics and Fact Sheets: The project team will develop a series of infographics and fact sheets to support MTI’s technology transfer, education, and outreach goals and mission.

External Interactive Webinar: The project team will host an interactive webinar to present findings from the White Paper, infographics, and fact sheets also in support of MTI’s technology transfer, education, and outreach goals and mission. Outreach advertising the interactive webinar would be done in partnership with other public agencies and non-governmental organizations. 


Mineta Consortium for Transportation Mobility
San José State University

Principal Investigator: 

Susan A. Shaheen, Ph.D.

PI Contact Information: 

Mineta Transportation Institute
San José State University
210 N. 4th St., 4th Floor
San José, CA 95112 

Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided (by each agency or organization): 

U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology – $69,999.85 

Transportation Sustainability Research Center, University of California Berkeley: $15,000 (in-kind) 

Total Project Cost: 


Agency ID or Contract Number: 



October 2017 to January 2019

Project Number: