The Romanian capital of Bucharest played host to a diverse mix of urban mobility professionals at the 2nd European Conference on Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans, which took place from 16–17 June 2015 at the University Politehnica of Bucharest. The many ways in which urban mobility can be used to improve our lives, cities and economies was discussed, with the role of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs) taking centre stage. This year’s edition saw more than 300 participants in attendance, up from 144 in 2014.
Recognising the unprecedented number of urban areas working on SUMPs, the conference explored the changing demands of urban mobility. Policy makers and academics from across Europe debated key issues, highlighting developments in mobility planning and examining how the SUMP concept can be adjusted to suit different geographic contexts and population densities.
The theme of the conference was ‘sustainable mobility for everyone’. Methods by which all members of society, including those with disabilities, can be provided with high-quality mobility options were looked at in detail.
The future of SUMPs – how they can be used to further support cities, areas in which greater resources should be put, methods for implementation, etc. – formed a large part of the debate. High-level speakers from the European Commission outlined their vision for European transport, noting that SUMPs are essential for growth, jobs, and quality of life. Isabelle Maes, speaking on behalf of Nataša Vidovič of the Cabinet of the European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc, outlined key EC initiatives that will help to shape transport across the continent in years to come.
Practical guidance was presented in addition to a more theoretical examination of sustainable transport, resulting in an interesting mixture encompassing both what we should aim to achieve and how we can achieve it.
Sessions tackled specific issues such as adapting SUMPs for roll-out in small cities; involving difficult to reach citizens in the SUMP planning process (including how mobile technology can be used to engage young people in transport planning); and best practices in transport modelling.
Topics such as securing the right financing tools for sustainable mobility projects; how to plan for changing demographics and socio-economic trends; and ways to quantify energy consumption in the transport sector leading to more effective Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAPs), were also explored.
Eight Romanian cities that have undertaken the development of a SUMP, each with a differing mobility starting point, were showcased to provide a glimpse into transport planning in the country. At present 14 SUMPs are in different stages of development in Romania. Representatives from Malmo and Vienna also presented SUMP development and roll-out in their respective cities.
Bremen, Germany, winner of the European Commission’s 2014 SUMP award, was announced as the host for the third edition of the SUMP conference, to take place in the first half of 2016.
The SUMP conference was organised by ENDURANCE, the European SUMP network, and is an element of the European Platform on Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans.
You can find all presentations from the conference on Eltis: