A Framework for Integrating Transportation Into Smart Cities

In recent years, economic, environmental, and political forces have quickly given rise to “Smart Cities” -- an array of strategies that can transform transportation in cities. Using a multi-method approach to research and develop a framework for smart cities, this study provides a framework that can be employed to:

  1. Understand what a smart city is and how to replicate smart city successes; 
  2. The role of pilot projects, metrics, and evaluations to test, implement, and replicate strategies; and
  3. Understand the role of shared micromobility, big data, and other key issues impacting communities.

This research provides recommendations for policy and professional practice as it relates to integrating transportation into smart cities.

Mineta Consortium for Transportation Mobility
San José State University
Principal Investigator: 
Susan A. Shaheen, PhD
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: 
August 2017 to March 2019
Implementation of Research Outcomes: 

This research highlights three recommendations for policy and professional practice:

  • The term “smart cities” implies that it is focused on individual cities themselves, but this study revealed that the success of smart city initiatives depends on how jurisdictions and public agencies engage with the region in developing and implementing strategies. Challenges that are often thought to be typical of the urban environment are being pushed out to suburban and rural communities. For example, affordability and displacement in some communities is forcing the poor to the suburbs where there is also a need for smart city approaches.
  • Implementation of smart city initiatives often varies by organizational structure; leadership; and champions (e.g., mayors, city managers, department directors, etc.). In all cases, smart cities require multi-directional leadership vertically through an organization and laterally across agencies and stakeholder groups. This requires executive-level champions of innovation and staff that are empowered to support and carry initiatives forward. Additionally, distributed leadership across organizations is required to foster partnerships, break-down jurisdictional silos, and ensure smart city initiatives endure beyond personnel changes. 
  • There is an increasing concern that technology-enabled strategies may be leaving the unbanked (those without access to a bank or credit card), underserved, and digitally impoverished (those without access to a smartphone or the Internet) communities behind. There is also worry that these strategies may not be equitably serving all neighborhoods, economic strata, people with disabilities, and other groups. Finally, machine learning/artificial intelligence could be learning/ replicating inequities in society and repeating historic biases and injustice. There is a need to ensure that smart city strategies are accessible to everyone. The public sector has many roles in ensuring equitable cities, including acting as a facilitator, funder, regulator, and evaluator of smart city initiatives. For example, this can include facilitating partnerships, providing subsidies and grants, and developing proactive legislation and regulations to guide smart city initiatives toward equitable outcomes.
Project Number: 



Contact Us

SJSU Research Foundation   210 N. 4th Street, 4th Floor, San Jose, CA 95112    Phone: 408-924-7560   Email: mineta-institute@sjsu.edu