A self-assessment at the beginning of the plan development process is needed to identify strengths and weaknesses of your current planning practices and to understand your own potential to successfully prepare a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan. The assessment should determine how closely current transport planning practices align with the activities set out in this guidance document and identify the barriers and drivers that might influence the plan development process. This will help you to determine what the plan development process will look like in your own local context.
- Get an honest and clear picture on the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities of current planning practices with regard to developing a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan in your own local context (e.g. political, institutional, legal framework).
- Develop a tailored Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan development process that fits the local context.
- Analyse the steps and activities of your current local transport planning process. You may use this document to check whether the Steps and Activities described are already incorporated in established planning processes of your city or region (are they considered fully, to a limited degree or not at all?). This way you can identify gaps that should be addressed in the new plan development process.
- Identify and analyse drivers and barriers to the plan development process in your urban agglomeration.
- Determine institutional, legal and financial barriers that affect the whole planning process (for example, is the bus company private or controlled by another level of government?)
- Process barriers that may arise in the course of planning (e.g. management, communication between different departments who will be involved in plan development and implementation).
- Pinpoint drivers that can support the development process and the implementation of a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan.
- Assess social exclusion aspects and solutions in the framework of transport policies. This means considering the needs of the whole community, including all vulnerable groups such as children, people with reduced mobility, the elderly, low income households, minority groups etc. Gender aspects, i.e. giving women and men the same opportunities, should also be looked at. Important questions are:
- Does the transport system guarantee equal access, affordability and availability (or related mobility options)?
- Do transport-related measures facilitate employment and support the development of an inclusive labour market?
- Carry out an honest self-assessment as a starting point for improving planning processes and policies. The outcome does not necessarily have to be made public.
Activities beyond essential requirements
- Apply a peer-review methodology with external experts.
- Apply a quality management system.
Timing and coordination
- At the beginning of the planning process, with results to be taken into account for the design of a locally tailored sustainable urban mobility planning process (see Activity 2.4 Agree on work plan and management arrangements).
- Link to Activity 1.4: Review availability of resources.
|Appropriate self-assessment carried out.|
|Strengths and weaknesses with regard to developing a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan identified.|
|Results summarised as starting point to optimise local planning processes|
Self-assessment methodologies internal meeting and review
A self-assessment can be as simple as a group of people who are involved in the planning process sitting down together to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of current processes and how to improve them. An independent facilitator can help in this. If desired, this can be coupled with a full SWOT-analysis. This method was used by Derbyshire County Council in the UK, as a way of improving its local transport planning processes, and of taking into account changes in other areas of planning that affected the LTP.
Another way of reviewing the planning environment for a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan is by means of a peer review. This is where one or more sustainable urban mobility planners, or other experts in the field, are invited to review the situation in a city before it prepares its (latest) Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan. The peer reviewer can consider the quality of the planning process and organisations in place and can also help to benchmark its outputs and outcomes against the “best in class,” thus giving the city feedback on what it has done and what it has achieved, as well as on how it organises its Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan. The City of Gent and the City of Ljubljana employed peer reviewers to help them reflect on what they have achieved, and how they might do better in their Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (see also example from BUSTRIP project).
Use of quality management systems and labels
Quality management systems (QMS) are designed to assess organisational processes and offer guidance on how to improve them. When a certain level of organisational quality is judged to have been achieved, a label or certificate is awarded. The most well-known form of quality management system is ISO9001, which evolved out of quality management primarily in the manufacturing industry, and so was initially designed for production processes.
More relevant to sustainable urban mobility planning might be the Common Assessment Framework, which is available free of charge to all EU Member States and is particularly aimed at the public sector.
Finally, some specific quality management systems that deal with certain aspects of sustainable mobility are currently available: Bypad for cycling (www.bypad.org), and MaxQ for mobility management (www.epomm.eu). The City of Lund in Sweden has applied MaxQ to improve the mobility management policy that sits within the wider framework of its well-known Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan, LundaMaTs.
Approaches to assess the quality of a city’s entire sustainable mobility policy are being developed in the IEE STEER projects Ecomobility SHIFT
(www.ecomobility.org/shift/), QUEST (www.quest-project.eu/) and ADVANCE (eu-advance.eu/).
Source: Tom Rye, Lund University
Koprivnica, Croatia: Identify and focus on strengths in order to eliminate weaknesses
Before promoting cycling and walking, the city of Koprivnica carried out a detailed status analysis. This analysis was based on a self-assessment carried out by the municipality itself, an extensive consultation process with a range of stakeholders as well as a public survey.
The BUSTRIP peer review methodology
The Baltic Sea Region INTERREG IIIB project BUSTRIP (Baltic Urban Sustainable Transport Implementation and Planning) developed a methodology to assist cities in the development and implementation of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans and actions. Building on a city’s self assessment report, BUSTRIP peer reviews are conducted by experts from other cities who visit for about 3-5 days and hold interviews with local stakeholders, interest groups, politicians and civil servants.
At the very beginning of the Active Access project (www.active-access.eu) in which Koprivnica participated to promote cycling and walking, a detailed status-analysis was carried out. This was based on a self-assessment carried out by the municipality itself, an extensive consultation process with a range of stakeholders as well as a public survey. The public survey was conducted repeatedly, targeting those who walk and cycle regularly, as well as those who primarily drive their cars. The self-assessment revealed that the city has excellent conditions to promote sustainable mobility. The urban structure is level, compact and has enough space to install an extensive bicycle network. Already now, 30% of the population walk or cycle regularly. 70% of school children go to school using public transport, cycling or going by foot. In the summer vacation period, the number of pedestrians and cyclists even outnumbers that of cars. The city’s mobility plan attempts to eliminate weaknesses by focusing on these strengths. When car drivers were asked in the public survey whether they would change their mobility patterns if there was a proper infrastructure in place, there was overwhelming support. All in all, a solid self-assessment was crucial in choosing the right focus for Koprivnica’s mobility planning and assured great public acceptance also during the implementation phase.
Eltis case studies with more information on Koprivnica: www.eltis.org
Source: Gábor Heves, Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe
The BUSTRIP methodology was designed to assist cities in the development and implementation of sustainable urban transport plans and actions.
BUSTRIP peer reviews are conducted by experts from other cities on the progress made by a municipality towards an agreed benchmark of sustainable urban transport. The ‘BUSTRIP SUTP Benchmark’ was adapted from the final report of the EU Expert Working Group on Sustainable Urban Transport Plans 2004. The benchmark described the characteristics that should be evident within Sustainable Urban Transport Plans.
As a first step of the peer review process the cities prepared self-assessment reports describing the progress being made in the municipality towards sustainable urban transport. The self-assessment reports included the municipality profile, the drivers and impacts related to urban transport, and the gap analysis describing the processes the city had used in preparing its existing transport related plans, strategies, actions and targets. This description was compared to the ‘ideal’ characteristics of the benchmark for preparing SUTPs. The self-assessment served as background information for a peer review team that was nominated specifically for each partner city.
The peers desk-reviewed the self-assessment report. Then they visited the city for 3–5 days and interviewed stakeholders, interest groups, politicians and civil servants. After the visit, the team wrote its peer review report for the city. The self-assessment report and the peer review team’s report were used by the city in the next steps of the planning process and during the preparation of the city’s Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan.
BUSTRIP peer review methodology document available from: www.movingsustainably.net
Author: Sakari Saarinen, Finland (City of Helsinki)