Design, Technology, and Innovation Projects

Current status

As of May 15, 2017, we have made some progress against these goals, but have more work to do to get the roadmap to its first full draft.

Smart City Roadmap Goal - Progress. This image shows the City’s progress on goals listed the City Council’s resolution calling for a smart city strategic roadmap. Here are the statuses of different goals:
A common, Austin-centered definition of Smart Cities - complete
A statement of vision about Austin's Smart Cities future - complete
Challenges on which we should focus and prioritize - in progress
Potential opportunities to address those challenges - in progress
Key goals & outcomes operationally for the City and for residents' equitable quality of life - in progress
An inventory of practices to consider - complete
Core needs, gaps, and capabilities to deliver - complete
Potential resources and means for partnering and financing initiatives - in progress
A prioritized list of projects to pursue - in progress

We’ve made significant progress on getting an Austin-centered definition of Smart Cities and statement of vision about our future, as well as creating an inventory of practices to consider, and identifying needs, gaps, and capabilities to deliver.

We have much more work to do to prioritize challenges and opportunities, identify resources and means for partnering and financing initiatives, create a list of projects, and align to key goals and outcomes identified by City Council and Management through the Office of Performance Management.

Smart City Roadmap Project Phases. This image shows the phases of creating and implementing the smart city strategic roadmap. The stages are: 1) Discovery (which includes work done in partnership between the City of Austin, AustinCityUP, SmartAustin, SIM, and the Smart Cities Council), 2) Roadmap definition and maturity model (where we are currently), 3) Standardize, refine inventory, 4) Align key goals and measures from the Strategic Plan, 5) Prioritize research and means, and 6) Project tracking site.

Discovery Phase

Preparation for this Smart City Strategic Roadmap began in 2016 through a series of workshops and desk research, and will continue iteratively. In parallel to these efforts, the City has been working to create an Adaptive Strategic Plan that sets outcome goals and targets for the next three to five years. The City has also joined a pilot with the Open Government Partnership to create project commitments to make government more accountable, transparent, and participatory, with integrated use of technology and innovation methods.

Journey to Smart City Foundation - 2016. Timeline of 2016 events related to Austin’s smart city roadmap. In 2016, the City coordinated and hosted workshops and events to promote opportunities for partnerships centered around Smart City initiatives. Key milestones included:
March 12: City of Austin named finalist in DOT Smart City Challenge
April: Austin joins the Open Government Partnership; City of Austin Convenes 200+ vendors/partners to collaborate on DOT grant application
June 23: City of Austin does not win DOT grant but reaffirms commitment to smart initiatives
August 5 and 26: CityUp: Civic Needs, Priorities and Opportunities Workshops 1 & 2
November: Council Resolution 20161103-051 calling for a Smart City Roadmap
October 10: CityUp: Collaboration & Project Development Workshop 1
December: Developed an inventory of known Open and Smart initiatives (~50)

Journey to Smart City Foundation - 2017. Timeline of 2017 events related to Austin’s smart city roadmap. In 2017, events continued and include the development of a Smart Cities Roadmap as part of Austin City Council Resolution. Key milestones included:
January 19: City becomes U.S Ignite Partner
January 24: CityUp: Collaboration & Project Development Workshop 2
March 30: CityUp: Civic Needs, Priorities, and Opportunities workshop 3
April 18: Smart Cities Council Readiness Workshop
April 11 and 25: CityUp Lunch & Learn Dept. Presentations
May 16: Scheduled staff presentation to Austin City Council
June 2-4: ATX Hack For Change & US Ignite Reverse Pitch
June/July: Open Government Partnership Self-Assessment
December: Open Government Partnership Report Due

What we’ve learned

During and after the Smart Cities Council Readiness Workshop, we asked for the advice of partners and stakeholders and received a lot key insights that will shape the roadmap. We synthesized 18 insights from 129 responses:

Evaluating and prioritizing Smart City projects requires the City engage all residents to understand existing needs and accessibility of solutions.

Contributors suggested the City measure against benchmarks (some of which already exist) so that Austin can check progress against achieving our goals.

The City needs a better identified entryway to intake, evaluate, and provide feedback to specific solutions and technologies.

The City needs a stronger capability for forming and managing public-private partnerships to address financing, risk, diversity, equity, and asset management.

The City needs to develop guidance to support prototyping and experimenting in an ethical and transparent way.

Contributors offered varying definitions of “smart,” referencing the use of solutions and technology as well as the outcomes that could be advanced.

The City should value data as an asset in service delivery and partnerships in ways that: 1) respect intellectual property; 2) assess the cost of unauthorized disclosure; 3) address data ownership; and, 4) inform partnerships.

The City needs to identify the decision makers and explain the decision-making process for Smart City projects.

Investment in the right skillsets, diverse perspectives, and human capital for the City is critical to the success (and even initiation) of projects.

The City should consider how projects impact geographic, racial, socioeconomic, and other types of equity, including unintended negative consequences.

Improvements to the City’s procurement process are critical to the success (and even initiation) of projects.

Contributors suggested that the City approach Smart Cities with a regional and geographically-distributed focus instead of concentrating solutions or ignoring interconnectedness of systems.

There is a need for a concerted effort on privacy and security that includes policies, processes, and staffing.

Projects should be continuously learning and adapting, powered by technology that enables flexibility and avoids vendor lock-in.

Contributors noted many considerations for managing Smart Cities as a program, including: goals, maturity, measures, value/cost drivers, critical infrastructure, and key resources.

Contributors said the city needs to enable a state of readiness for agile and iterative implementation of projects.

Contributors suggest that the City needs to facilitate connections and leverage existing programs supporting City Council outcomes.

History of Austin’s Open and Smart Initiatives

The City of Austin’s Smart City initiatives will rest on a foundation of open government and other organizational innovation initiatives.

History of Austin’s open & smart initiatives.

  • In 2010, we created the Sustainability Office
  • In 2011, we completed the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan and committed to Open Government through a City Council Resolution
  • In 2011, the City launched the Austin Open Data Portal with 25 data sets.
  • In 2012, the community voted to invest in the creation of the Dell Medical School, now an anchor for smart health initiatives
  • In 2013, the City began implementing its open data initiative, entered into a partnership with Google Fiber, and city council initiated a discussion board to be transparent in online deliberations.
  • In 2014, the City co-created a Digital Inclusion Strategic plan to help close the digital divide, and added an Innovation Office
  • In 2015, the City initiated a Community Engagement Task Force to determine ways to better engage Austinites
  • In 2016, the City added an Equity Office, to insure equitable outcomes for all Austinites and a Performance Management Office, to ensure accountability for performance. The City also participated in and initiated 3 foundational smart city initiatives: the U.S. Department of Transportation Smart Cities Challenge, Phase 1 of Small Cell Deployment in the downtown core, and joined the U.S. Ignite Smart Gigabit Community

Thank you to our partners

We thank our partners for supporting our progress: Austin CityUp, Smart Cities Council, DigiCity, SIM Austin, and Smart Austin