ENDURANCE e-update November 2014
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Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (S.U.M.P.) focus on people, but they are also made by people. Compared to traditional transport planning, the S.U.M.P. approach requires additional skills that may exceed the capacities of the municipal staff. It also requires a new way of thinking, breaking down the traditional partitions between departments and policy fields. City officers as well as local politicians need to be on the same line to support a common vision for the city. In this e-update we will point out resources and good examples that can help cities and municipalities to make the best possible use of their human resources.

Reminder: The call for papers for the ECOMM2015 is open, deadline is 9 December. For submission of abstracts, please go to the submission site.


Getting the commitment of politicians and decision makers

Lucia Ilieva

At the very start of the process, a common challenge for local planners is to convince decision makers of the added value of a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan. Critical to understand is that an S.U.M.P. is not "yet another plan". It builds on the existing transport plan, but with a different approach. We summarised the main characteristics and benefits of this approach in this flyer for politicians and decision makers.

The example of Tallinn, Estonia, shows that even after an official commitment it can still be difficult to get the S.U.M.P. process going. An important milestone for the city was the Sustainable Urban Mobility Forum held in 2012 with participants from political parties, city departments and NGOs. The event ended with an inspiring speech with 10 recommendations from Eric Britton from EcoPlan (listen to the audio recording starting from 1:30). Then the vice-mayor promised that the city will develop an S.U.M.P. In the following years however, the inclusion of the S.U.M.P. in the city budget kept being postponed. Ironically, the fact that the opposition started to explicitly demand an S.U.M.P. too, impeded the process rather than advancing it.

In Bulgaria, the political will in the cities is quite high, but the main barrier is funding.

"The ENDURANCE project has made Bulgarian cities more aware of the benefits of S.U.M.P. With 17 cities in our network so far, we will be able to give urban mobility plans in Bulgaria a significant boost. The main problem however is that we are experiencing a big delay in our national programming of the priorities for the Structural Funds. Our municipalities count mainly on European money for funding their S.U.M.P.s."

Lucia Ilieva - National focal point for ENDURANCE in Bulgaria


Skills management plan

Photo by indo consultores / CC BY-SA 3.0

When the city is ready to start the process, one of the first things to do is to review the availability of human resources such as available staff and skills. For most public authorities, the specific skills required for running the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan process will exceed the capacities of their staff. Additional expertise can be obtained through training, recruitment, cooperation with other stakeholders, and – if necessary – subcontracting. In case of recruiting, municipalities should consider hiring people with a non-transport-related background for specific tasks (e.g. marketing), in order to bring in a fresh perspective. When hiring external experts, the councils of the Greater Bristol area tended to integrate these staff into the project teams. This approach ensured that through close working within a multi-disciplinary team, the strengths and skills of in-house staff were expanded and developed. (Source: S.U.M.P. Guidelines, p. 102)


How skills and knowledge shape our decisions

Photo by DARPA

Our knowledge, past decisions and competences impose certain boundaries on the strategies and solutions that we decide to apply. This was demonstrated in a Swedish study by VTI. Since the 1990s Swedish municipalities have set policy objectives of reducing car use and increase the shares of walking, cycling and public transport. Nevertheless, the share of car travel is still increasing. A study in four municipalities revealed that this lack of results is partly explained by the underlying rationale of optimising the flow of car traffic that has long-since underpinned the education and professional practice of transport professionals. This rationale focuses on functional construction of road networks, road design and other road infrastructure measures. This way of thinking has improved cycling in terms of speed and flow, but not in terms of numbers. (Report in Swedish, English summary on p.7)


Collaboration between departments

Source: Do the Right Mix

Coordination of different policy domains is a big challenge and can even conflict with other plans. But the coordination can bring together the wide variety of different approaches, knowledge and skills available in the different departments and policy fields of a municipality. And it can bring about innovation and improvement. Cooperation can be assured by setting up an S.U.M.P. committee or inter-sectoral working group that will develop common actions and have regular communication and meetings. A letter of intent or memorandum of understanding can mark the launch of such a committee.

Policy integration was one of the main themes of the European S.U.M.P. award 2013. The winner was Rivas Vaciamadrid, Spain, where the mobility department is integrated into a higher body called the Area of Sustainable City, which includes Urban Land-use Planning, Works and Infrastructure. For the S.U.M.P. they also collaborated with departments from other areas, such as Safety, Education, Health, Children and Youth, Elderly People, Sports, and Social Welfare. The second and third place S.U.M.P. award went to Strasbourg, France, and Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain.


European and national projects pave the way

Helfried Kreiter

In many cities, European projects or national programmes were a stepping stone towards inter-departmental collaboration and a successful planning process. "During the past years we have been engaged in several projects which have fostered collaboration between departments," says Helfried Kreiter, from the environmental department of the Austrian city of Judenburg. "We are part of the Covenant of Mayors and of the Austrian e5 programme. In the framework of these initiatives we have set up a Sustainable Energy Action Plan in 2012. But the main driver for starting an S.U.M.P. process was our participation in the ADVANCE project. Thanks to all of these projects we have learned to work together between the different departments. Cooperation has definitely been intensified through the S.U.M.P. process and it has facilitated further cooperation on other topics as well." Read the full interview with Mr. Kreiter here.

After winning the S.U.M.P. award 2013 Jorge Romea Rodríguez, the head of the Department for Environment and Mobility of Rivas Vaciamadrid said: "One of the most important factors in helping us reach our goals has been the opportunity provided by the European Commission for us to work in cooperation with other cities through organised networks." (Source: Do the right mix)

Through exchanges of experiences and study visits, project teams can learn a lot from specific and good examples from other cities and countries. In the framework of EU projects there are often opportunities to get the contacts and funding for this type of activity, e.g. through the CIVITAS Activity Fund (next call in 2015). In fact, the national ENDURANCE networks were created to foster this kind of exchanges within a country and to help cities find information, experts and best practices from other countries. Contact your NFP today and benefit from our extensive network and S.U.M.P. knowledge!


Welcome to the network!

One of the most recent newcomers to the ENDURANCE network is the city of Leuven, bringing the number of cities in the Belgian network to eight. The city is revising its mobility and land use plan at the same time, using an integrated approach. The central idea is ‘spatial proximity as the best mobility policy’. The city wants to position itself as a hallmark of climate policy, making the city climate neutral by 2030 in close cooperation with the citizens and stakeholders of Leuven. In the future, car access will be restricted in more parts of the city and public transport also needs a reorientation, with less bus traffic going through the city centre and a shift to smaller and cleaner vehicles.


Resources for further reading

  • The new European Platform for S.U.M.P. on Eltis contains the official S.U.M.P. Guidelines and many other resources.
  • The Baltic Sea Region Competence Centre on SUMP, established within the CIVITAS DYN@MO project, brings together the knowledge and good examples of sustainable urban mobility planning in the Baltic Sea Region. Similarly, an S.U.M.P. competence centre will be set up in Koprivnica, Croatia, to ensure transfer of knowledge in Croatia and South-Eastern Europe.
  • The CH4LLENGE project developed the tool KonSULT to overcome the fact that cities are often unaware of the full range of measures available to them. The tool includes a Measure Option Generator that allows cities quickly to identify those policy measures which may be of particular value in their context.
  • When your city is located in an area with multiple urban centres, you can use the Poly-SUMP tool to generate a "poly-centricity profile" for your region: a spider diagram that allows you to simultaneously compare key variables of spatial planning and mobility. More information on the Poly-SUMP website.
  • The PUMAS project is devoting a one-day seminar to the topic of institutional cooperation on 26 November.
  • QUEST is a Quality Management tool developed to help small and medium-sized cities to set up and further develop their sustainable mobility policies and actions with the assistance of an external expert – the QUEST Auditor.
  • The ADVANCE Audit compares the cities’ mobility planning to an ideal sustainable urban mobility planning process.

Upcoming events

  • PUMAS seminar on Institutional Cooperation
    26 November 2014 - Munich, Germany
  • Transport Safety: societal challenges, research solutions
    4-5 December 2014 – Genova, Italy

For more events, please visit the EPOMM Calendar.

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