SUMP awards showcase cities driving sustainable urban mobility planning in Europe

By Eltis Team / Updated: 29 Apr 2015

In 2013 the European Commission set out the concept of a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP), a strategic planning document that deals with the complexity of urban mobility in a more sustainable and integrative way. Today, cities across the continent are embracing this concept and experiencing the positive effects on their transport systems and their citizens’ quality of life.

The SUMP award, an annual competition launched by the Commission in 2012, celebrates this growing movement and recognises the outstanding achievements of cities in urban mobility planning. For this year’s award, entrants had to demonstrate to an expert jury what monitoring processes they had put in place to keep track of their planning processes and of the implementation of  measures.  Monitoring also allows cities to draw valuable lessons from their planning experience, understand what works well or not, and to build business cases and a evidence base that can be applied to similar measures in the future.

The 2014 winner was the German city of Bremen, which was recognised for its creative methods in monitoring and evaluating its SUMP. In addition to excellent planning and providing tools for monitoring and evaluation early, Bremen co-operated closely with local stakeholders, peer cities and networks during the preparation of its SUMP, which was adopted in 2014.

The evaluation processes have allowed Bremen to make highly informed decisions when implementing its SUMP. Its scenario analyses, which relied on projected traffic models, enabled it to select the best locations for future rail stations. Modelling the future mobility behaviour of its citizens also allowed it to select only those stations used by a minimum number of passengers.

Likewise, consulting citizens and stakeholders in the cost-benefit analysis has been beneficial. For example, the scenario analysis suggested building a new tram line through a park. The new line was expected to be very efficient but citizens did not approve of its construction. As a result, Bremen selected a different measure which met their sustainable transport ambitions and, crucially, kept the public happy.

Bremen had to hold-off strong entries from finalists Dresden (Germany) and Ghent (Belgium). Dresden was praised for its highly systematic approach for the development of a monitoring and evaluation framework. It is also strong in its provision of tools and has carefully selected relevant indicators.

Ghent has built up almost 30 years of SUMP practice and was recognised for its outstanding data collection from local authorities and other sources that enable it to create a high-quality monitoring and evaluation process. Thessaloniki (Greece) received a special mention for the ongoing implementation of its SUMP despite a difficult working environment.

Bremen’s prize was € 10 000 to further promote work on its SUMP. EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: ‘These cities found creative and innovative ways of improving the urban environment using cleaner transport solutions. I would like to congratulate all our finalist cities for tackling their own individual challenges with such dedication and determination.’

The EU’s Do The Right Mix campaign, the organisers of the award, produced a video of the three finalists. For more information on the SUMP awards visit the Do The Right Mix website.