Home > SUMP Glossary > Quality of life

Quality of life


The aim of the SUMP Glossary is to provide a brief explanation of specialist words, terms and abbreviations relating to the subject of sustainable urban mobility planning. The Glossary has been prepared by the CH4LLENGE project and as a result, there is a particular focus on defining terms relating to the four key challenges of plan development studied by the project, namely: participation, cooperation, measure selection and monitoring & evaluation. It is envisaged that, over time, the international community of mobility practitioners will add to the content of the online Glossary and produce versions in different languages.
A simple structure has been followed so that users can search for words, terms and abbreviations in a standard alphabetic format. For each Glossary term, the following information is provided:
• a general definition and, where available, a specific definition relating to transport and mobility planning;
• an explanation of why the term is relevant to sustainable urban mobility planning; and
• references to sources.
The preparation of the Glossary, including the selection of terms and drafting of definitions, has been informed by a review of relevant reports, guidance documents and existing glossaries. The key reference is the European Union “Guidelines - Developing and implementing a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan” prepared for the EC’s Intelligent Energy Europe (IEE) programme by Rupprecht Consult (January 2014) and therefore this has not been identified as a source throughout the document. The outputs of the CH4LLENGE project have also provided a principal source of information and the official documents can be found at www.sump-challenges.eu.

Please note that not all the explanatory text is taken directly from the listed sources. The authors have sought to take established definitions and information as the basis and explain these in simple terms and relate them to the context of sustainable urban mobility planning where this was not previously the case.

By Admin Eltis / Updated: 28 May 2019

DefinitionQuality of lifeinfo-icon refers to the general well-being of a person or society, based on a range of criteria such as health and happiness, rather than only wealth.

For policyinfo-icon-makers and practitioners who wish to understand how quality of life can be gauged, a range of indices have been developed, including:

  • Eurobarometer Quality of Life in Cities Survey: The last survey of 79 European cities was undertaken in 2013 and covered topics including satisfaction with public transport, air quality, noise level, public spaces, green spaces and the fight against climate change.
  • Happy Planet Index: The index measures the extent to which countries deliver long, happy, sustainable lives for the people that live in them. The index uses global datainfo-icon on life expectancy, experienced well-being and ecological footprint to calculate this. The index ranks countries on how many long and happy lives they produce per unit of environmental input.
  • Mercer Quality of Living Index: This has been developed for companies with internationally mobile workforces, to enable them to set hardship allowances. Within the category Public Services and Transport, scores are awarded for public transport and traffic congestion.

Relevance to SUMP - In the context of SUMP, quality of life has been expressed as “space for people, better air, less noise, improved health and reduced health cost, ecosystem health, less traffic, less pollution, time and cost savings of sustainable urban mobilityinfo-icon solutions” (IEE, 2012). While transport impacts many aspects of quality of life, the comprehensive nature of quality of life assessments means that transport-specific indicators will only make up a small portion of all criteria used. Nevertheless, the development of sector-specific indices such as the Copenhagenize Index, which focuses on cycling, indicates how more complex mobility-related assessments could contribute to overall quality of life assessments in the future. As well as judging the quality of cycling infrastructure, the Copenhagenize index covers indicators of social and cultural progress for cycling, including the genderinfo-icon split of cyclists, perception of safety and social acceptance.

Source: JLL, 2013; IEE, 2012

Go to the SUMP - Glossary