City Standards Network


Standards are an agreed way of doing something.  Many people recognise they are important, but they are often overlooked and misunderstood.  For example, did you know that a typical laptop is built based on more than 300 different standards?

Now think about all of the different things and processes that make up an entire city.  From basic things such as standards that allow you to turn the lights on in your home and ensuring you have fresh drinking water, to communication protocols that enable real-time public transport information. It is estimated that there are more than 10,000 standards relevant for cities, yet currently the potential benefits standards can have on the economy, productivity and society as a whole are not being fully realised.

The Challenge

Whilst no two places are the same, they all face common challenges and opportunities. In an increasingly urbanising world, it’s essential for cities to work together, learn from each other, and use common standards that enable scalable city solutions.

This isn’t easy. Industry, academia, and cities themselves are all working in isolation to develop products and services for the cities of today and tomorrow. There are also many standards organisations that work in isolation of each other often creating competing standards out of touch with the real problems that need to be solved and publishing in ways that are difficult to access and understand.

As a result, our research has found, users of standards must navigate a fragmented standards marketplace with little confidence in what’s available.

The City Standards Network

The City Standards Network is helping to build a more unified, human centred approach to creating, finding, and implementing standards.

We bring together standards development organisations (SDOs), city networks, transport providers and regulators, industry, and standards specialists in government to create a better understanding of the challenges in using standards facing these groups.

For example, we chair the OASC working group City Standards User – an initiative to improve the understanding and use of common smart city standards across global cities.

What we’re trying to achieve

It is estimated that standards contribute towards 28.4% of annual GDP growth and 37.4% of annual productivity growth in the UK.  We believe that providing a more open, interoperable and user-friendly standards marketplace could further these benefits and have a significant impact on the economy, productivity and society.

To enable this, we want further understand the challenges faced by the market with standards and work with standards makers to ensure standards are developed and delivered in an open, accessible and user friendliness format to scale adoption. Ultimately, we want to enable increased adoption of standards, so that cities and their citizens can benefit from the products and services created as a result of these globally recognised standards.

Help us build the future standards for connected places
  • SME’s, business and wider industry have the opportunity to get involved, by working with us to identify where standards (or a lack of) are a barrier for new innovative products and services.  Through our neutral, government backed role, we can help convene the market to agree common best practice and take a human centred approach to ensure they are developed and implemented in the most effective way
  • Standards and best practice organisations can work with us to help coordinate standards development and work with us to develop and test new standards in the market, using new human centred approaches
  • Place leaders and transport authorities can work with us to bring together others to scale the adoption of common standards and ensure their needs and priorities are clearly represented in the standards development process.
  • We also work with Governments to bring together the network to help shape standards that support grand challenges such as the Industrial Strategy, Clean Growth strategy, Future of Mobility grand challenges and Transforming Construction.
  • Standards Innovators: we are also looking to work with innovators and disruptors that are looking to provide solution that can help transform the way standards are developed and used