A common challenge for planners in local administrations is to convince decision makers of the added value of a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan. Below are ten main arguments for this approach:
1. Improving quality of life
There is strong evidence that sustainable urban mobility planning raises the quality of life in an urban area. Well-coordinated policies, as defined by a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan, result in a wide range of benefits, such as more attractive public spaces, improved road safety, better health, and less air and noise pollution.
2. Saving costs - creating economic benefits
Mobility is a major enabler for a local economy. A healthier environment and reduced congestion helps to substantially reduce costs to the local community and attract new businesses. In the global and national competition of urban centres, a well organised and sustainable city is also a more attractive city for investors. A sustainable city simply has a much better “business case” than a city without a clear forward-looking mobility policy.
3. Contributing to better health and environment
More sustainable mobility directly translates into better air quality and less noise. Travelling more actively (by walking and cycling more often) is good for citizens’ health. For a city it clearly pays off to invest in less noise and better air quality in the medium to long term. Cities need to play their part in reducing greenhouse gases in the transport sector. Sustainable urban mobility planning is a core element of any climate policy.
4. 1. Making mobility seamless and improving access
Sustainable urban mobility planning is an excellent tool to create multi-modal door-to-door transport solutions. Bringing different actors together ensures that particular access needs of citizens and businesses are effectively provided for.
5. Making more effective use of limited resources
At a time when financial resources are limited, it is even more important to ensure that the solutions adopted make the most cost-effective use of the funds available. Sustainable urban mobility planning changes the focus from road-based infrastructure to a balanced mix of measures including lower cost mobility management measures.
Adopting the polluter-pays principle also introduces an additional revenue stream which can be used to finance alternatives to car use.
6. Winning public support
Involvement of stakeholders and citizens is a basic principle of a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan. A city government that shows that it cares about what its citizens need and want and that involves its stakeholders appropriately is in a much better position to obtain a high level of “public legitimacy” it reduces the risk of opposition to the implementation of ambitious policies.
7. Preparing better plans
Planners, especially when traditionally focused on developing infrastructure, can better understand the mobility needs of different user groups when receiving early feedback. Stakeholders sometimes come up with very effective solutions, because they may be more familiar with a specific situation.
An integrated and interdisciplinary approach to planning (with different departments bringing in their expertise) helps to put a mobility plan on a broader basis. It ensures that the plan fosters a balanced development of all relevant transport modes, while encouraging a shift towards more sustainable modes. It thereby caters for all users with regards to their access and mobility needs.
8. Fulfilling legal obligations effectively
Cities have to meet many, sometimes competing legal requirements. The legal obligations for air quality improvement and noise abatement are only two examples of a range of national and European regulations. A Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan offers an effective way to respond through one comprehensive strategy.
9. Using synergies, increasing relevance
Urban mobility problems often span administrative boundaries, relate to multiple policy areas or concern a wide range of departments and institutions. Sustainable urban mobility planning seeks solutions for the “functioning city” with its connections to surrounding areas and the national and European transport network. A Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan inspires a collaborative planning culture across different policy areas and sectors and between different governance levels within the “functioning city”. This cooperative planning culture supports the finding of solutions that reflect the connected nature of urban mobility.
10. Moving towards a new mobility culture
As examples of many cities show, the outcome of continued sustainable urban mobility planning is a common vision of a new mobility culture: a vision, that is agreed by the major political groups and shared by the institutions and citizens of an urban society; a vision that goes beyond electoral cycles and that can include less attractive elements when they provide long-term benefits.