The move towards smart cities in Europe is gathering pace with the release by the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities of an implementation plan and a funding commitment from the European Commission.

The Partnership, which was launched in July 2012, brings together representatives from industry, research and cities with the aim to significantly accelerate the industrial-scale rollout of smart city solutions integrating technologies from energy, transport and information and communication technologies (ICT).

The implementation plan forms the initial output of the Partnership, and is focused on three specific areas – sustainable urban mobility, sustainable districts and built environment, and integrated infrastructures and processes across energy, ICT and transport.

The basis for the proposed actions is to create a number of “Lighthouse Initiatives” that bring together groups of cities with industry and innovative SMEs from the ICT, energy, and mobility and transport sectors, to deliver common smart city solutions that can be replicated in a large number of cities.

Other proposed actions include:

  • Advance smart city open standards through the CEN-CENELEC-ETSI Smart City coordination group
  • Develop infrastructure platforms and common architectures for smart city information
  • Make available relevant data on an “open data by default” basis
  • Develop tools for scalable integrated design, simulation and multi-criteria optimization
  • Create a common framework to develop citizen insight and share amongst EU cities
  • Develop a Smart City Strategy at a policy level which allows for the creation of ‘innovation zones’ to test solutions
  • Implement collaborative, integrated smart city planning
  • Agree a common smart city indicator framework for evaluation and monitoring of progress.

The EC said in a recent statement that it expects to invest around €200 million to create smart cities in the next two years. The “Lighthouse Initiatives” are expected to be supported through the EC’s Horizon 2020 research funding.

The plan will be formally launched in Brussels on November 26, when more details on the funding and business commitments and other next steps also should be made available.

View the Strategic Implementation Plan HERE.

By Jonathan Spencer Jones