Involving stakeholders in SUMP planning in Košice (Slovakia)

By News Editor / Updated: 09 Apr 2015
Congestion, parking problems, declining use of public transport and poor-quality cycling and walking infrastructure: these are the considerable mobility problems facing Košice today. To help tackle these problems the city, with the support of the EU’s ATTAC project, decided to develop a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) – a key element of which is involving citizens and stakeholders. The SUMP – Slovakia’s first – was accepted by the municipality in March 2014.  
Košice is the second largest city in Slovakia and has a population of approx. 240 000. In 2013 public transport accounted for 40 per cent of trips made by citizens; 29 per cent used a car; 28 per cent travelled on foot; and only 3 per cent cycled. Košice’s public transport consists of a 34km tram network; a 178km bus network; and a 13km trolleybus network.
Since 2006 the number of public transport users has been declining, an alarming trend that, in addition to other problems, Košice decided to address by  developing a SUMP - an effective method to address urban mobility problems in a structured and integrated way. There is no legal obligation in Slovakia for local authorities to prepare and implement a SUMP. However, in order to receive funding for public transport projects, a local authority must present a SUMP or similar. 
In action 
The Košice SUMP was developed within the ATTAC (Attractive Urban Public Transport for Accessible Cities 2011-2014) project and co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.  In 2012 the preparation of the SUMP was tendered by the Košice public transport company, a body 100 per cent owned by the city and an ATTAC partner. The project to draft the SUMP was awarded to Slovakia’s University of Žilina for € 17 000.
The process of preparing the SUMP began in April 2013, with the university using the guidelines produced by the European Commission. An important element outlined in these guidelines is the interactive process of drawing up the plan: developing the SUMP must not be just a simple summary result of consecutive phases but the integrated process allowing a shared diagnosis of the situation, progressive definition of overall objectives and consistency of the means.
The university put together an expert group of key stakeholders to supervise the drafting of the SUMP. It consisted of staff from four different municipal departments (construction, urban planning, transport and environment); the regional government; the Ministry of Transport, Construction and Regional Development; DPMK, the local public transport company; the railways; the police; and a civic cycling association.
This expert group met twice, supplemented by regular phone and mail contact.  The group also attended three public meetings organised by the municipality. The first took place in spring 2013 with about 20 participants, where the group presented the project and the main mobility issues in Košice. The second meeting took place in autumn 2013, included about 12 participants and discussed potential measures.  At the third meeting in the beginning of 2014, 30 participants attended for an opportunity to comment on the draft SUMP document. There were no fundamental comments. Košice’s SUMP was accepted in March 2014. 
Košice’s SUMP addresses stakeholder and public participation, upgrading and integrating public transport, parking, walking, cycling and environmental issues in a joint and integrated strategy. The plan also includes typical SUMP elements such as defining ‘SMART’ objectives and assessing the impacts of proposed measures. For more details, see Kosice’s SUMP document below.
As part of the SUMP, a dynamic database containing all proposed measures and actions related to the objectives has been produced.    The database is not public, but stakeholders can view it and propose new measures. Some of them are already in process of implementation. The first proposal contained almost 70 actions from which about seven have been implemented or are in process. This includes the purchase of new trams worth a total of € 40m and the construction of 1 000 new bicycle racks in the city, to the cost of € 9 000.
The database also contains measures for which no funding is available yet For these measures the municipality will apply for funding to the Ministry and the EU. As this is a time-consuming process, Kosice will move forward with implementing low-cost measures, such as holding regular meetings, starting with the SUMP implementation management and installing the new bicycle parking facilities. The measure database will continuously be updated.
Challenges, opportunities and transferability 

The multi-stakeholder participation during the development of the plan proved to be effective for drafting a strategy which takes all relevant aspects and sectors into account.  ‘This was a new phenomenon in Košice and substantially contributed to the quality of and support for the plan,’ said Marian Gogola from the University of Žilina, citing the example of how citizens proposed a very detailed solution for improvement of the public transport lines and scheduling within the city.

However, Gogola admits that this process can be improved. The number of attendees at the public meetings was limited, perhaps due to insufficient or ineffective communication mainly through the municipality channels, such as the website. ‘Public participation is also not common practice in Slovakia yet,’ he added. Multi-stakeholder and citizen participation takes time and should be planned carefully and well ahead to prevent serious delays, the associate professor said. And it should not be underestimated that it takes a substantial effort to convince stakeholders of the benefits of drafting a SUMP.

‘It’s not only about drafting  a new  vision or only a paper document, but also about drafting a structured and integrated package of measures which are actually implemented,’ Gogola said. ‘This SUMP document is a guidance – a kind of a cookbook -  for the municipality that will assist it with the further development of the SUMP and actual implementation of measures.’

In Depth 

Photo by Scottish Resilience Development Service / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Urban mobility planning
Public and stakeholder involvement
Marian Gogola
Rob Jeuring
PDF icon Košice SUMP (EN)4.78 MB
01 Apr 2015
09 Apr 2015