Public Consultations on Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan for the City of Tomaszów Mazowiecki

a series of public meetings

Period Saturday, November 21st – Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015
Location Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland

As a part of its SUMP promoting activity CIFAL Płock under the guidance of Krzysztof Buczkowski, PhD developed and implemented a model approach for the city of Tomaszów Mazowiecki (about 65 000 inhabitants) based on the SUMP principles. As a result of close cooperation with various mobility-related city departments as well as representatives of municipal authorities, an official strategic document entitled Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan for the City of Tomaszów Mazowiecki – Guidelines for the Perspective of 2015-2020 was produced. The paper delineates achievable goals for Tomaszów Mazowiecki to obtain within the specified period of years to come (defining the key aim alongside some specific targets that are to be met) as well as offers a set of applicable measures and policy directions that are designed to help the city to move forward on its path to a cleaner and more sustainable urban mobility system. This could be achieved by means of the following actions.
Due to the fact that keeping public and stakeholder engagement in the process of developing SUMP is the ground rule which always ought to be observed, the preparation of the document in question was accompanied by the public consultation procedure. The major reason for holding the consultation process was to start a genuine, constructive and meaningful dialogue that would yield substantial public input on the matter of urban mobility in Tomaszów Mazowiecki. Individuals as well as representatives of various NGOs were given the opportunity to submit their proposals and/or deliver their comments on the solutions already proposed thus contributing to and influencing the final shape of the directions agreed upon. Additionally, the resulting document is to aid the municipality in the process of appealing for the strategic development EU funds.
In order to facilitate the process of sumbitting sugestions pertaining to the project and to broaden the common ground for a consensual agreement a combination of several forms of communication was employed:

• field face-to-face surveying – on a given day a group of pollsters were dispatched to selected busiest places in the city with the aim of conducting a survey among the citizens of Tomaszów Mazowiecki. With the help of questionnaires that had been prepared for that specific purpose a considerable amount of raw data concerning urban mobility preferences of local community was collected. By way of supplying answers to a series of both general and specific questions regarding their everyday transport decisions, the interviewed inhabitants allowed for some early identification of the most urgent transport priorities that in people’s opinion needed to be addressed. Additionally, the survey form included some open questions by means of which citizens could speak their mind in a less restricted manner giving them a chance to highlight those aspects of their city’s mobility system they felt to be most critical or had not been properly covered in the questionnaire.

• dedicated website – to assist the consultation process a special website (www.mobiplan.pl) was launched. It was designed with the purpose of offering easily accessible means of submitting the proposals or comments of any interested party at a convenient time regardless of its actual whereabouts. Apart from being the source of relevant information both about the project and the very idea of SUMP, the website contained a comprehensive on-line survey form examining the mobility preferences of city’s transportation system users the results of which served as a valuable source of data with reference to the city’s modal split. Moreover, the website provided information as to the time and place of the upcoming public consultation meetings.

• public meetings – anyone willing to raise a point, express their opinion or, simply, wanted to listen to the constructive discussion regarding the shape of the city’s future transport policy was welcome to attend any of the organized face-to-face meetings. Altogether a series of 3 meetings was held, all of which were preceded by an introductory presentation giving the participants a better grasp of the topic in question (which turned out to be a major issue with a good deal of people who came), stating reasons for the necessity of introducing a strategic reform as well as allowing for a more in-depth debate between the stakeholders. During the discussion panel, which ensued afterwards, each of the key aspects of urban mobility was respectively addressed with the aim of eliciting participants’ ideas or comments on the solutions discussed. The idea behind the organization of the meetings was not only to let the otherwise scattered or ill-informed individuals engange in a direct dialogue about matters that affect their everyday life but also to establish enduring relations between the citizens and decision makers as well as other groups of interest to assure increased multilateral involvement in the decision-making process in the future and, consequently, secure a greater public consent for the implemented measures.

In conclusion, when it comes to development and implementation of SUMP in the context of less populous cities of Poland, two major barriers seem to stand out. The first one is the difficulties municipalities face when trying to secure financial resources needed to conduct an effective process of SUMP preparation (e.g. performing a professional , realistic and thorough evaluation procedure and thus gaining accurate and reliable data on which an effective strategy or action plan can be built). The second hindrance is the poor knowledge of the benefits that come from the application of the sustainable approach, not only among the community but also, not infrequently, on the part of the authorities who are primarily concerned with managing a tight budget. The suggested course of action in this case would be addressing that low level of awareness through educational campaigns and training seminars (both among the citizens and the decision makers) demonstrating the advantages resulting from developing SUMP (which, apart from the obvious health and environmental benefits, can bring some vital cost savings allowing, in turn, for better budget control in the future) as well as highlighting the perils that arise from maintaining the old-fashioned model of governance in the rapidly changing reality.


Additional documents are available for this event:

Public Consultations on SUMP for the City of Tomaszów Mazowiecki - attendance list.pdf
summary of citizens\' suggestions and opinions.pdf
questionnaire form.pdf
Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan for the City of Tomaszów Mazowiecki – Guidelines for the Perspective of 201.pdf