In 2008 the city of Málaga initiated a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) which introduced a number of successful urban mobility initiatives following the plan’s approval in 2011. However, due to economic, social and technical circumstances, Málaga was forced to review its SUMP. The city saw this as an opportunity to involve stakeholders and the public in assessing, formalising and scheduling the changes needed to improve mobility in Málaga.
The southern Spanish city of Málaga covers nearly 400km2 and has a population of almost 569 000. The metropolitan area counts over 1.5 million people. Every day around 1 400 000 urban and 200 000 metropolitan trips are made in Málaga. Nearly half of Málagans walk; over 30 per cent use cars; 10.8 per cent travel on buses; 6.5 per cent ride motorbikes; 1.7 per cent cycle; and 0.3 per cent use trains. The main elements of Málaga’s SUMP include ideas to improve walking and cycling infrastructure, public transport, the supply and demand for parking, intermodality and public awareness. It is considered an essential instrument to improve mobility and the quality of life in town and has received the support of all the municipality’s political parties. The Málaga City Council Mobility Area is responsible for developing and managing the SUMP, but other council departments and stakeholders are involved in deciding on the measures.
Following the decision to review and update the SUMP, meetings to discuss modifying the measures have been taking place regularly. As a result of Málaga’s involvement in the CIVITAS 2MOVE2 project, a SUMP Technical Committee, which co-ordinates the review process, was formed and consists of representatives from the municipal transport company and taxi institute; the council mobility and accessibility department; the Centre of Strategic Investigation and Economic and Social Development (CIEDES); and the CIVITAS 2MOVE2 project.
The Committee meets every six months to discuss the SUMP based on an established work-plan. It held its first meeting in May 2014, during which it discussed the Commission’s SUMP Guidelines and the proposals of the work schedule to be carried out through Committee meetings until 2016. The public is involved in the SUMP review through CIEDES’s membership of the Committee. CIEDES channels the information to and from citizens, encourages their participation and defends their interests. It also seeks co-ordination with the activities of other institutions and public and private entities. In addition, four meetings with citizens and stakeholders were organised between May and July 2014 to discuss the SUMP’s long-term objectives and main measures; a total of 89 proposals were presented and debated. The meetings were, among others, attended by representatives of civil society; cycling associations; university professors and students; companies linked to transport and mobility; and civil servants.
The aim of the meetings is to gather information to analyse mobility in the city (for example, through surveys to assess citizens’ awareness and acceptance of potential actions, or by evaluating environmental indicators to judge the success of measures). Before its final approval, the SUMP will be subjected to a wider public consultation: the arguments submitted by citizens and stakeholders will then be analysed and considered for inclusion in the SUMP by the Mobility Department. Associations, other organisations and individual citizens will be able to provide their feedback through the City of Málaga’s website, by e-mail or with letters. This ‘participatory’ period will run from June to September 2015 and will involve around 80 groups and partnerships.
The first review of the SUMP was completed in April 2015, with the initial feedback of the public and stakeholders taken into account by Málaga when drafting measures related to e-mobility, intelligent transport systems (ITS) and regulating heavy-goods freight traffic. The participatory processes include the following:
ITS software development for a ‘Management Centre of Mobility’ (MOVIMA) – (due in November 2015)
- Meetings with seven different companies responsible for of traffic management
Regulating heavy-goods freight traffic (already implemented)
- Meetings with the Port of Málaga (regional government), factories and companies responsible for last-mile freight distribution
Victoria ‘e-mobility’ project (expected implementation June 2015)
- Meetings with electricity company Endesa, the University of Málaga (research, development and innovation) and Málaga’s public transport operator
Smart parking systems in regulated parking zones (already implemented)
- Meetings with local residents
Smart parking system in loading/unloading zones (currently being implemented - to be finished in June 2015)
- Meetings with companies responsible for last-mile freight distribution and the city police department
The main challenge was finding ways to inform citizens that they can take part in the decision-making process. One way that Málaga reached out was by sending civil servants to neighbourhoods with information on upcoming debates to encourage residents to attend meetings. With regards to involving stakeholders meetings with external (other administrations, companies, University of Málaga) and internal stakeholders (different departments of Málaga City Council) took place. In general, stakeholders were very receptive to meetings with the city council, but there were those that objected to the restrictions included in the traffic management measures and, consequently, some measures were finalised without unanimous approval.
Another challenge is the need to obtain sufficient funds for the implementation of the new SUMP measures. Nevertheless, the SUMP is planned to be approved as a Special Plan linked to the General Urban Development Plan of Málaga. Within this legislative framework, the measures included in the new SUMP will be funded from city council’s budget for the short-, medium- and long-terms. This also means that the new measures should be realistic and match the current socio-economic situation. Málaga’s Francisco Bravo Encinas said: 'It is essential to develop a realistic SUMP and implement a few measures correctly rather than develop many poorly'.