Activity 5.2: Develop SMART targets


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Por Admin Eltis / Actualizado: 11 Nov 2015


Targets represent the most concrete form of commitment in an SUMP, stating the desired degree of change within a given timeframe. They are needed to assess whether an adopted measureinfo-icon really achieves the desired outcomes. Targets should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound) and refer to the agreed objectives. Targets are essential for monitoringinfo-icon and evaluationinfo-icon purposes > Activity 8.1 Arrange for monitoring and evaluation). The selection of indicators needs to keep that in mind. Targetinfo-icon setting provides transparencyinfo-icon and clarity on what you plan to achieve in terms of changing transport and mobilityinfo-icon in the city.



  • Define a set of targets that allow monitoring of progress towards achievement of the objectives.
  • Establish a key reference for assessing the efficiency and effectiveness of the measures.



  • Develop targets that allow monitoring of progress towards the achievement of objectives and assessmentinfo-icon the efficiency and effectiveness of the measures taken.
  • Involve key stakeholders in developing quantitative and qualitative targets. Preparation, realisation and follow-up with indicatorinfo-icon working group meetings.
  • Define SMART targets: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound.
  • Adopt and/or develop indicators that are representative of the objectives set.
  • Do a reality check on objectives (> Activity 5.2) in the early stages of developing targets.
  • Make the formal adoption of targets a part of the action and budget plan (> Activity 7.2).


Smart targets

  • Specific – precisely described using quantitative and/or qualitative terms that are understood by all stakeholders.
  • Measurable – the current situation has been measured and is known. Resources are also in place to measure the changes (qualitative and quantitative) that occur.
  • Achievable – based on the technical, operational and financial competencies available and stakeholderinfo-icon agreements/commitments that have been made 
  • Relevant – stresses the importance of choosing targets that matter, that drive urban mobility forward and that support or are in alignment with other targets
  • Time-bound – key dates for the achievement of the target are clearly defined

Based on: BUSTRIP Project 2007, Moving sustainably – Guide to Sustainable Urban Transport Plans,


Details on the tasks

How many targets?

The UK national Local Transport Plan Guidance (second edition) suggests that: It is likely to be counter-productive to include a large number of targets for key and intermediate outcome indicators. In general, the optimum number of indicators in an effective set appears to be between twenty and forty, partly dependent on the size and characteristics of the plan. This is a general indication from the UK. Many experts involved in the ELTISplus consultations however state that working with fewer targets may prove more effective in certain contexts, especially for “newcomer cities” that do not have extensive resources or experience to draw on when developing a Sustainable Urban Mobility Planinfo-icon.

Be realistic!

In many cities, targets for urban transport and mobility reflect more wishful thinking than what can realistically be achieved. This is obviously counterproductive. While it is good to be ambitious, you also need to assess honestly what can be achieved with the given resources and expertise. This should also be reflected in the measures selected (> Step 6).


Activities beyond essential requirements

  • Use localised targets within the urban agglomeration (such as for the city centre, industrial or commercial areas, individual neighbourhoods, etc.) to take into account locally varying transport behaviour patterns and travel opportunities.
  • Define trajectories or annual milestones to monitor progress in achieving targets.


Timing and coordination

  • The targets should be the next stage in the process following the definition of objectives in > Activity 5.1.
  • Targets will allow you to monitor change over time and will enable the progress of the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan to be evaluated (> Activities 8.1 & 10.3).



Develop a suitable set of locally relevant targets.
Reality check of objectives (> see Activity 5.1) completed.
Formal adoption of targets and trajectories by all stakeholders as part of the action and budget plan (> Activity 7.2)


For more information


Improved Indicators for Sustainable Transport and Planning. Deliverable C1 Sustainable Transport Indicators: Selection and Use



Theoretical example: Target for tackling congestion

An example of this could be the theme of tackling congestion. The objectiveinfo-icon could be to reduce the rate of traffic growth entering an urban agglomeration at a ‘peak’ traffic flow period. The target might be not to exceed 5% growth in the number of inbound vehicles crossing a cordon (often a road junction or similar) into the urban agglomeration during the time period 7:00 to 10:00 (morning period of peak traffic flow) between the years 2012 and 2017.

To set realistic targets there are two main options:

a) Modelling – but this is costly and time consuming,

b) Consider what others have been able to achieve with packages of measures similar to those being considered for your own city.
Both the Eltis portal ( and the Konsult database ( are helpful starting points (further sources on good practice > see Activity 6.1 Identify the most effective measures).

As illustrated in this example, targets need to be focused. They should be based on a defined figure and a target year for delivery. They need to represent and directly reflect what has been agreed in terms of the objectives.

Based on: Pilot Manual 2007 – full version, amended,


Cambridgeshire, England: Targets and trajectories

The third Cambridgeshire Local Transport Plan (2011 – 2026) sets out the indicators and targets that will be used to monitor progress towards delivering the strategyinfo-icon and achieving the objectives. The indicators chosen reflect the issues which are most important to Cambridgeshire while at the same time enabling them to compare progress against other local authorities in the country. The LTP includes illustrations that clarify the relation between objectives, targets and trajectories for monitoring.


LTP 01: People killed or seriously injured in road traffic accidents

The proposed national road safety targets outlined by the Department for Transport in July 2009 sought a 33% reduction in casualties killed or seriously injured by 2020. Cambridgeshire therefore set initial targets for the period to 2012 for this indicator in line with this reduction.
The figure bellow shows progress against this indicator since 1994 and the initial LTP3 target for 2012.


Indicator LTP 01: People killed or seriously injured in road traffic accidents in Cambridgeshire


Source: Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridgeshire Local Transport Plan 2011 – 2026, Implementation Planinfo-icon.