ACTIVITY 6.1: Identify indicators for all objectives


By Benjamin Baxter / Updated: 28 Nov 2019


The selection and definition of strategic indicators for all objectives is an essential step for the further process of setting targets and monitoringinfo-icon progress. It is important to first identify the indicators to ensure that targets will be selected that you are able to monitor with reasonable effort. A systematic approach helps to identify a manageable set of core indicators that reflect the objectives well. Working with just a few indicators on the strategic level may prove more effective, especially for ‘newcomer cities’ that have limited resources, datainfo-icon or experience when developing a Sustainable Urban Mobility Planinfo-icon. While indicators for monitoring measures will be developed later (see Activity 7.3), the strategic indicators for measuring overall SUMP performance will be selected here, together with the respective measurement methods and corresponding data sources that were identified during the preparation phase (see Activity 3.1).



  • Define a set of strategic indicators that allow for the monitoring of progress made towards the achievement of each of the objectives.

  • Select easily measurable and understandable indicators by taking into account existing data sources (see Activity 3.1) and standard indicators.



  • Specify your objectives and identify which main aspects need to be monitored.

  • Develop a small number of quantitative and qualitative ‘core’ indicators that are easily measurable, understandable, and clearly linked to each of the objectives

    • Use standard indicators that are already well- defined and have existing knowledge on how to measureinfo-icon and analyse them. This enables benchmarkinginfo-icon against other cities or comparison to national/international statistics.

    • Focus on impact indicators (also called outcome indicators) that directly measure the achievement of your sustainabilityinfo-icon objectives. Consider also indicators from related areas, such as economy, environmentinfo-icon, health and social, not only transport indicators.

    • Include a few indicators that are particularly useful for communication with decision-makers and the public. These indicators should be easy to understand and interesting for a wider public (e.g. number of people seriously injured or killed in traffic; number of locations exceeding air pollution limits; or jobs created).

  • Evaluate the already available data and identified data sources (see Activities 3.1 and 3.2), identify gaps in being able to measure the intended outcomes, and, if necessary, develop or identify new data sources (e.g. survey data, quantitative data from automatic measurements).

  • Before you start developing your own strategic indicators, discuss with key stakeholders and other organisations in your area, as they might already have adopted some. Progress is much easier to monitor if indicators that have already been implemented and accepted are used.

  • Develop a clear definition for each indicatorinfo-icon, the reporting format, and an outline of how data is measured and the indicator calculated from the data.


What is an ‘Indicator’?

An indicator is a clearly-defined data set used to monitor progress in achieving a particular objectiveinfo-icon or targetinfo-icon.

Strategic indicators enable measurement of the overall performance of a SUMP and therefore provide a basis for its evaluationinfo-icon. On a more detailed level, measure indicators allow for monitoring the performance of individual measures.


Activities beyond essential requirements

  • Coordinate with relevant local and regional stakeholders on regional indicators.

  • Make data available online so that external people understand the severity of problems.


Timing and coordination

  • Directly based on the objectives defined in Activity 5.2, leading on to the setting of targets in Activity 6.2.

  • Goes hand-in-hand with Step 3, during which data and data sources are identified and analysed and the baselineinfo-icon for the availability of data for indicator identifications are set.

  • Developed strategic indicator set and monitoring arrangements to be taken into account when planning the monitoring of the individual measures (see Activity 7.3).



✔ Quantitative and qualitative outcome indicators identified for all objectives, including indicators used by other organisations in your area.
✔ Existing and new data sources evaluated.
✔ Set of strategic core indicators defined, including reporting format and measuring methodinfo-icon.


Figure 24: Overview of important quantifiable strategic impact indicators, based on the European sustainable urban mobilityinfo-icon indicator set (SUMI) and the international standard (MobiliseYourCity)


Additional urban mobility indicators:

  • Affordability of public transport for the lowest income group

  • Accessibilityinfo-icon for mobility-impaired groups

  • Noise hindrance

  • Congestion and delays

  • Energy efficiency

  • Opportunity for active mobility

  • Multimodal integrationinfo-icon

  • Satisfaction with public transport

  • Traffic safety for active modes


Source: European sustainable urban mobility indicator set (SUMI)

You can find more tools to support you in selecting indicators in the CIVITAS Toolinfo-icon Inventory:

More general information on monitoring can be found in the CH4LLENGE Monitoring and evaluation manual:


More info: 

GOOD PRACTICE EXAMPLE: Milton Keynes, United Kingdom

Easily measurable and available set of strategic indicators


To assess the overall performance of the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan, the city council has selected a number of indicators, including e.g. road network condition, average journey time, air quality and road safety. The decision to select these indicators was made as to allow for a correct assessment of the impact of the SUMP, and are easily measurable as well as available or easily accessible. Milton Keynes Council advises to define a clear set of SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) objectives for the SUMP, which helps to later select indicators aligned with the SUMP objectives. Based on experience, the SUMP team also advises to use new technologies and indicator methodologies that have been applied in other cities.


Author: James Povey, Milton Keynes Council, collected by Polis


The Accessibility index as an indicator example


Malmö developed, based on relevant measurements, a normative Accessibility Index that can assess the impact of measures undertaken und uses maps to illustrate sustainable accessibility. The Accessibility Index can function as support for decisions in planning and in weighing different investments and actions. It also allows for making comparisons between different areas and population groups. The Accessibility Index can constitute support for following-up on how accessibility in the transport system develops over time and can thus serve as one of several indicators for how well SUMP goals are reached.


Author: Andreas Nordin, City of Malmö, collected by Rupprecht Consult