SUMP, an opportunity for Mobility Management
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Dear reader,
Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans, SUMP in short, are a big priority for the European Commission. The first action in the Action Plan on Urban Mobility aims at increasing the take-up of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans in Europe. The Transport White Paper of 2011 proposes to examine mandatory Urban Mobility Plans. EPOMM fully supports SUMPs, and as you will see, with good reason. The upcoming ECOMM 2013 addresses many SUMP themes: Land Use Planning, Health, Freight, Economy, Public Space, Cycling . Have a look a the just opened call for papers. EPOMM asked its members to share their experiences on the implementation of SUMP in their country and the role mobility management can fulfil in SUMP.

Breaking news: the EACI has positively evaluated the ENDURANCE proposal - for the "EU-Wide Establishment Of Enduring National And European Support Networks For Sustainable Urban Mobility". EPOMM submitted the proposal and will thus lead the large consortium. It consists of partners from 25 countries and also includes the 3 city networks POLIS, EUROCITIES and ICLEI. With this support for the years 2013-2016, we expect to provide a strong boost for sustainable urban mobility in Europe!



SUMP in short

Photo courtesy by ADVANCE

A Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan is a “Strategic plan designed to satisfy the mobility needs of people and businesses in cities and their surroundings for a better quality of life. It builds on existing planning practices and takes due consideration of integration, participation, and evaluation principles.” (

Transport planning is not new, but SUMP goes further than that. It is a new and people-focused planning approach. Its basic characteristics are:
  • a participatory approach;
  • sustainability to foster economic development, social equity and environmental quality;
  • the integration of policy sectors;
  • clear, measurable objectives and clear evaluation plans;
  • value for money
Central to the SUMP methodology is the focus on quality of life and quality of public space. A SUMP should guarantee safe, environmentally-friendly and (cost-)efficient mobility as well as access to jobs and services to all.

The importance of SUMP as a planning concept is still increasing. It was the theme of the 2012 European Mobility Week and the European Commission has just launched the first EU Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan Award for local authorities (see



Mobility Management at the heart of SUMP


Photo courtesy by ADVANCE

Where traditional transport plans tend to focus on solving traffic problems by developing infrastructure, SUMP emphasises quality of life, quality of public space and measures to encourage public transport, walking and cycling. The characteristics of a SUMP are in fact the same as the characteristics of Mobility Management – and MM is therefore an essential element in any SUMP.

The European Commission’s Transport White Paper encourages cities to develop Urban Mobility Plans that contain a mixed strategy. It should involve land-use planning, pricing schemes, efficient public transport services and infrastructure for walking and cycling – as well as charging/refuelling of clean vehicles. The aim is to reduce congestion and emissions. Unfortunately, the White Paper does not stress quality of life as aim, nor the large impact that relatively inexpensive ‘soft’ measures can have on people’s attitudes and behaviour when combined with the above mentioned ‘hard’ measures.

By contrast, the European knowledge brokerage consortium CORPUS identified mobility management as a central approach for transforming current unsustainable mobility patterns. They developed a research agenda that regards behavioural change as a prerequisite for the desired mobility transition. It calls for more ambitious and innovative measures in mobility management as one of the five keys to more sustainable mobility in Europe (read more on Eltis).



Experiences from EPOMM members

Portugal: EPOMM supports the uptake of MM in the national SUMP strategy
In Portugal, guidelines for sustainable Mobility and Transport Plans were developed in 2009-2010. They were part of a Mobility Package which supports cities in the fields of mobility, accessibility and land use. IMTT, the central administration body responsible for the coordination of inland transport and also the national focal point of EPOMM for Portugal, coordinated the preparation of these documents. They were based on various studies in cooperation with a range of Portuguese experts. Other transport professionals gave their input on an international conference in cooperation with EPOMM.


Street art by Peter Gibson – Source: WebUrbanist France: Beyond SUMP
In 1996, French law made SUMP mandatory for cities with over 100,000 inhabitants. At the moment, there are about 60 approved mandatory SUMPs in France. Moreover, cities of this size have to install mobility centres. That is why mobility management usually is a full part of the approved SUMP. But beyond the SUMP framework, towns can sometimes wish to go further than their legal obligations and voluntarily take up additional plans. One example is the city of Strasbourg which has approved its ‘walking plan’ or ‘plan piétons’ (link in French) in January 2012. It completes the official SUMP with 10 main actions in favour of urban walkers.
Click here for Tools and Methods in the French Urban Mobility Plans - written by the CERTU.


The Netherlands: How SUMP are Dutch mobility plans?
The Transport Knowledge Resource Centre KpVV investigated to what extent Dutch local mobility plans correspond to the SUMP philosophy. The research report (English summary on page 9) shows positive results, although many plans lack a focus on energy consumption, CO2 emissions, efficiency and cost-effectiveness. There is also room for improvement in the formulation of attainable and measurable goals, cost consciousness and attention to monitoring and improvement. According to the study, Dutch mobility plans should focus more on improving the quality of life and not on solving mere traffic problems. Another recommendation is to involve citizens and stakeholders throughout the process and not only during certain phases.



Evaluating SUMP throughout Europe – QUEST and ADVANCE

The city of Szczecin receives its ADVANCE audit certificate – Photo courtesy by ADVANCE

The Transport White Paper asks for an examination of mandatory Urban Mobility Plans, following national standards but based on EU Guidelines. It also suggests to link funding to cities and regions that have submitted an Urban Mobility Performance and Sustainability Audit Certificate. QUEST and ADVANCE are two European projects that are working on such an audit methodology.

The ADVANCE consortium is currently testing its prototype audit scheme in Szczecin (Poland), Malmö (Sweden) and Schaerbeek (Belgium). By the end of 2012, the scheme will be revised and applied in 8 European cities. The scheme addresses medium-sized cities from 35,000 to 450,000 inhabitants. More information: project information sheet, state of the art report.

The QUEST audit evaluates small and medium-sized cities’ mobility policies. Fifty cities from all over Europe are involved in QUEST, demonstrating that there is much demand for advice on urban mobility planning. Five of them are partners in the project and have tested the project’s methodology: Bath, Gävle, Ghent, Padua and San Sebastian. More information: QUEST methodology, state-of-the-art report

Results of the QUEST pilots show that SUMP development can give a boost to mobility management measures. In Gävle (Sweden), the most important part of the QUEST action plan were incentives for public transport. These include many mobility management measures like real-time travel information, company campaigns and trial schemes. Similarly, in Padua (Italy), communication and stakeholder involvement was one of the top three priorities coming out of the QUEST audit.

Both audit procedures involve a trained auditor, city representatives and stakeholders. They both result in an action plan for improvement and a certificate. A detailed comparison of both methods is coming up in the near future.

EPOMM proposes to use EPOMM as an integration and dissemination platform for the audit schemes. - the reference site on SUMP

Copyright: Jens Lennartsson

The website was built in the framework of ELTISplus (2010-2013), a three-year service contract set up by the European Commission. ELTISplus aims to accelerate the large-scale take up of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans by local and regional authorities in more than thirty European countries. The Guidelines on the Development and Implementation of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans break down the creation of an SUMP in 11 main steps. The document is based on the input of more than a hundred experts. It is being used as a reference for SUMP awareness raising and training workshops all over Europe. In May 2013, ELTISplus will draft its final version of the Guidelines. Other resources are the SUMP brochure available in 16 languages, the state-of-the-art report and a promotional video (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).



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