We – regular citizens and public administrations alike – all want the same thing for our cities: less pollution, less congestion and smarter mobility solutions. But whilst meeting these requirements all comes down to effective SUMPs, these plans have yet to materialise in most European cities. The Prosperity project aimed to tackle this problem by establishing national SUMP ‘task forces’. Over three years, these platforms became the place to discuss cities’ needs and requirements, and more specifically the planning and implementation of national SUMP support programmes tailored to these needs in each participating city. “The idea was to bring about a cultural shift in transport planning at all levels of government,” says Robert Pressl, coordinator of the project on behalf of Austrian Mobility Research FGM-AMOR. “But we particularly focused on developing new national government activities to stimulate sustainable urban mobility planning. Besides, we brought together cities and national-level agencies in each country to build a mutual understanding of SUMP and build capacity, thanks to national-level exchanges of experience and training events.” The project covered a total of 13 countries whose take-up of SUMP concepts was non-existent or needed to be further developed, and successfully helped them in preparing a relevant national programme. The team also carried out a comprehensive set of training sessions for city representatives, with a particular focus on city and site managers, people in charge of budgeting, technical personnel and politicians. In total, over 300 city representatives could benefit from these training sessions. Utilising a peer-to-peer approach To ensure success, the project consortium used a peer-to-peer approach: they identified ‘champion’ SUMP cities and selected their development leaders to become trainers in other, less advanced cities. “This ensures that the information and content, contained in the training and awareness raising material, are based on the experience of real cities and these messages resonate most with other cities because they provide real evidence,” Pressl points out. For those who didn’t have a chance to attend these training sessions, the project provided training material and also created ‘innovation briefs’ describing innovative approaches and ideas in sustainable urban mobility planning and implementation. Since the project was launched in 2016, partner cities have been used as test beds and role models. The project purposely picked very different cities in terms of size and population to test various ideas. In Lisbon, for instance, stakeholders are now developing a digital platform to detail measures and objectives, as well as monitoring and evaluation methods. In Fagaras, urban mobility measures were selected to converge with needs and objectives in the area of urban development and energy efficiency, by harmonising the SUMP with land use plans and the energy efficiency strategy. In high density residential neighbourhoods, for instance, the city introduced on-street paid parking. Keeping SUMPs alive Pressl is hopeful that the availability of national and regional SUMP supporting programmes will uplift SUMP to a higher policy level in participating countries. The consortium is getting ready to maintain SUMP task forces beyond the duration of the project, whilst all national SUMP networks are still in operation and have gained significant visibility within their own countries. The Slovenian SUMP network, for instance, currently has 210 active members including national institutions, regional agencies, municipalities, NGOs, public transport operators, the news media, and transport experts.
Prosperity, SUMP, Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan, sustainability, urban mobility