The EU co-funded ENDURANCE project started in May 2013 and since then it has been doing valuable work in helping to establish national Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) networks in Europe. The project’s objective is to establish SUMPs as a major urban policy supported on a local, national and European level. It brought together representatives of cities, countries, projects and organisations to exchange experiences of sustainable urban mobility measures and actions that have proven to be successful.
The concept is simple, yet effective. ENDURANCE introduces an exporting partner (i.e. the city with the already-implemented measure) and an ‘importing’ partner (i.e. the city wishing to learn from or introduce a similar measure). ENDURANCE organised a number of these ‘matchmaking’ events over 18 months, mainly during national meetings between cities from the same country (known as National Focal Point workshops), SUMP conferences, and general project meetings held in partner countries, where the host would offer its knowledge as an ‘exporting’ partner.
But first it was crucial to perform some preparatory groundwork, and create the right conditions for these exchanges to take place. This included research, identifying appropriate matches between importers and exporters of best-practice, and providing information on selected practices ‘pushed’ by exporters through specific working groups and sessions.
It was then necessary to classify and collect the practices according to preferred topics and define how, where and when these transfers would occur (which ENDURANCE called transfer ‘road-maps’). All three of these phases took place with partners during dedicated workshops. Only once these were complete would cities take part in peer-to-peer meetings and site-visits.
An example of one of these meetings was when Austrian officials met with their Slovenian counterparts to transfer their knowledge of mobility management in schools. While Slovenia has gained a lot of experience from working with teachers and schoolchildren to raise awareness about sustainable transport modes – for example, through the well-known Traffic Snake Game - it has found it rather challenging to reach parents.
Austria, on the other hand, also working with schools to raise awareness of sustainable mobility, has been putting a strong focus on reaching out to parents, and has done so successfully. Representatives from both countries met, and after a presentation by Austrian colleagues, the Slovenian partners had a chance to ask questions. In total, the session took just over an hour; just enough to effectively pass on detailed valuable knowledge that the ‘importer’ can then use to improve their own mobility-related initiatives.
This is just one of many examples of valuable policy-transfer within ENDURANCE. Among others, the project also brought together Belgian and Polish partners to discuss the development of a successful SUMP policy framework in Flanders; Finnish mobility experts with officials from Bratislava (Slovakia) to discuss smart and sustainable mobility in Finland; and representatives from Frankfurt (Germany) and Brasov (Romania), where the former presented their experience on how to set up a public transport authority at a metropolitan level.
ENDURANCE is nearing its end, but it is currently working to compile the valuable learnings from the project, and insights from the content of these meetings. Look out for upcoming publications – and a final conference – on the project website. ENDURANCE is also a member of the European Commission’s SUMP Co-ordinating Group.
Image copyright: Sharing by "Josh Harper" (Flickr), CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.