Bucharest is facing considerable urban mobility challenges. To tackle these, the Romanian capital is taking its first steps in sustainable urban mobility planning. An important element for a successful planning process is to bring together planners, local authorities and other stakeholders to ensure an integrated plan that will benefit local communities and businesses in Bucharest. The creation of a stakeholder working group has enabled Bucharest to identify a number of policy priorities to take forward as the plan progresses.
Bucharest is a big and complex city with urban sprawl and significant mobility challenges. Two million people live in the inner city and 4 million in the metropolitan area. It. The last 25 years have deeply changed the mobility patterns in the city; motorisation has increased from one car for every 10 people to one car for every two people.
Authorities need to take drastic action to solve daily mobility problems faced by people, such as air pollution, traffic congestion and lack of downtown and residential parking. In 2014 Bucharest started planning its first Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) supported by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s funding programme for Romania’s Growth Pole cities.
A crucial step in Bucharest’s SUMP process was the creation of a City Hall Mobility Group. This group was created as a platform for discussion and stakeholder participation a few years ago. At that time authorities started a dialogue with major stakeholders on mobility issues in the city and the metropolitan area.
The Group meets twice a month and debates critical aspects of Bucharest’s transport system and its territorial relationship with the metropolitan area, communities and businesses developments. Members shed light on why the city needs urgent mobility actions. Examples of most of issues that were subject to debate are included in Bucharest’s SUMP report presentation made for the 2nd SUMP conference.
Thanks to the Working Group’s discussions and findings the Bucharest’s SUMP interim report was able to propose a long list of major objectives and four urgent actions to take:
- Establish a clear entity to manage public and road transport at the city and metropolitan area level, with the authority and resources needed to boost an integrated and intermodal transport system;
- Eliminate maintenance arrears of the surface and underground public transport system;
- Restrict car use by implementing a traffic management and parking policy;
- Ensure at least a minimum level of security for pedestrians on sidewalks and street crossings.
As stakeholder involvement is essential for a successful SUMP process, the role of the City Hall Mobility Group will grow in importance as the plan progresses.
The conclusions of the first two interim reports of Bucharest’s SUMP were presented at the 2nd European Conference on Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans, and gave an outline of the efforts made so far by the responsible authorities, planners and stakeholders in reshaping Bucharest’s transport system to 2035 and beyond. Two upcoming additional reports will establish what priority investments are needed for the short-, medium- and long-term action plans.
Bucharest’s SUMP process is expected to result in major changes in the next 10 years, not only with respect to the city’s mobility, but also people’s mentality and decision-makers’ attitudes on mobility choices regarding sustainable development and quality of life.
Planners and transport professionals are meanwhile looking forward for innovative tools provided by the SUMP, including a transportation model for the next 10 years’ actions and the prioritised transport infrastructure investment plans that will become the backbone of Bucharest’s General Urban Development Plan (PUG).
The experience gained during the SUMP process will ensure effective and efficient co-operation with stakeholders and local authorities. The outcomes of the SUMP are also fundamental for the detailed planning practice and development of sustainable urban renewal and architecture solutions in areas such as Bucharest’s historical downtown.
The SUMP process has identified problems faced by the city: the lack of a coherent mobility policy and co-operation between local authorities, especially in data sharing. Previous transport studies show a lack of specific implementation guidelines, tools and funding resources. More public communication and information is needed as the first SUMP reports – which propose mobility actions and policies - are finalised. These policies include:
- Defining a hierarchy of road networks and a public transport system based on accessibility needs, pedestrian and bicycle priority, accessible to all people regardless of age or private car ownership;
- Creating a regional network with intermodal hubs at a metropolitan level;
- Integrating the transport and urban development planning process with flexible real-time traffic management and information tools, including transport safety and security measures and services;
- Adjusting investment plans to available funding resources at local, national and EU levels;
- Adopting technical solutions based on international quality and interoperability standards.
- Video: presentation to the SUMP Conference Bucharest 2015 (in English)
- Observatorul Urban Bucuresti, news article, June 2015 (in Romanian)
- UAR Bulletin nr.19/2014 (in Romanian)