Activity 1.6: Identify key actors and stakeholders

By Admin Eltis / Updated: 12 Nov 2015


Identifying urban mobilityinfo-icon stakeholders and understanding their potential role and position in the process is important to achieve the overall goals of sustainable urban mobility planning. This can help to identify possible conflicts and coalitions between stakeholders, and how these in turn may affect your planning process in terms of geographical coverage, policyinfo-icon integrationinfo-icon, resourceinfo-icon availability and overall legitimacy. This is needed to develop appropriate ways to deal with dominant or weak stakeholders and with intermediary positions.



  • Create a sound basis for a durable cooperation between all stakeholderinfo-icon groups.
  • Identify possible synergies or conflicts between stakeholders.
  • Enhance the steering capacity for the preparation and implementation of your plan.



  • Identify all relevant stakeholders as well as their objectives, their power, their capacity and their planning resources (e.g. using a stakeholder mapping toolinfo-icon).
  • Identify weaker actors that may need empowerment.
  • Strive for a planning coalition including all key actors – as far as possible, avoiding substantial conflicts with one or more powerful actors. Draw up a simple stakeholder coordination strategyinfo-icon to guide this task.


Details on the tasks - Who are the stakeholders of a sustainable urban mobility planning process?

To obtain a comprehensive picture, three types of stakeholders should be distinguished according to their specific power position in the process:

  • Primary stakeholders: Who will ultimately be affected – positively or negatively – by new transport measures (e.g. citizens in general, different social groups or professions, certain city districts, business branches, individual organisations)?
  • Key actors: Who has political responsibility (mayors, councillors, other authorityinfo-icon levels)? Who has the financial resources (public and private funds)? Who has the authority (by domain or territory)? Who has the skills and expertise (public administrations, universities, private sector) – in transport and related domains (land use, environmentinfo-icon, education, health, tourism, etc.)?
  • Intermediaries: Who implements transport policy (PT and infrastructure operators, public administrations, police, etc.)? Who carries out major transport activities (freight operators, harbours, airports, etc.)? Who represents pertinent interest groups (associations, chambers, cooperatives, networks)? Who informs and reports on transport (authorities, operators, local media)?

In addition, consider the role of existing local champions – key individuals who may play a significant role in mobilising resources, creating alliances, etc. because of their personal skills and the recognition they receive among local actors. In practice, such persons can have an extraordinary influence on the process, both positively and negatively, so their role requires an early strategic assessmentinfo-icon. Obviously stakeholder identification is not a task that can be concluded once and for all at the beginning of the planning process. Rather, it needs to be taken up repeatedly when scenarios and policy options become more concrete, and implications for stakeholders can be assessed more accurately. Even for some key actors, a re-assessment may turn out to be necessary as a consequence of changing circumstances (e.g. privatisation of a national railway operator).

Source: PILOT Manual 2007 – full version,


Typical stakeholder groups involved in transport projects (based on GUIDEMAPS)

Government / Authorities

Businesses / Operators

Communities / Local Neighbourhoods


Local authorities

Transport operators/providers

National environmental NGOs

Research institutions

Neighbouring cities

Transport consultants

Motorist associations


Local transport authority

Car sharing companies

Trade unions

Training institutions

Traffic police

Bicycle rental operators


Experts from other cities

Other local transport bodies

Other mobility providers

Local authority Forums


Other local authority bodies

National business associations

Local community organisations



Major employers

Local interest groups

Other decision-makers

Private financiers

Cycle/walking groups

Partnering organisations

International/national business

Public transport user groups

Project managers

Regional/local business

Transport users

Professional staff

Local business associations


Emergency services

Small businesses


Health & safety executives


Citizens in neighbouring cities

European Union

Utility services (e.g. electric, telecoms)

Disabled people

Ministry of transport



Other national ministries


Transport staff

Regional government Parents / children
  Older people

Source: based on GUIDEMAPS Handbook 2004,[1].pdf


Timing and coordination

  • From the outset – identification and analysis of stakeholders.
  • Reassess if changes in stakeholder group occur.



Stakeholder groups identified: Primary stakeholders, key actors, intermediaries.
Analysis of actor constellations carried out.
Basic stakeholder coordination strategy developed.



Analysis of actor constellations

After stakeholders have been identified, the constellations between these actors should be analysed. This analysis should be based on a list of different criteria or attributes which are relevant for the respective case, e.g. interest, power, influence on each other, coalitions, etc. This way you can find out what the objectives of each stakeholder are, what their hidden agendas are, and whether they regard themselves as “winners” or “losers” if a given project is implemented.

The objectiveinfo-icon of a systematic analysis of actor constellations is to get a clear picture of conflicts of interest or potential coalitions and to be able to better determine clusters of stakeholders who may exhibit different levels of interest, capacities and interest in the issue in question. This can, for example, be done by developing an “Influence-Interest Matrix”, which groups stakeholders by their level of influence/ importance:

Influence-Interest Matrix


Low Influence

High Influence

Low stake

least Priority Stakeholder Group

useful for decision and opinion formulation, brokering

High stake

important stakeholder group perhaps in needs of empowerment

most critical stakeholder group


Source: UN-Habitat: Tools to Support Participatory Urban Decision Making, Nairobi, 2001, p. 24. available from:


Guidance on partnership working 

The DISTILLATE Guide to Partnership Working (Forrester 2008) helps transport practitioners identify key actors and stakeholders whom they may need to consult or work with. The guide includes a useful list of 19 success factors to working with other groups. It makes the point that partnerships work best when and where there is political support and legislative backing, and where agencies and stakeholders can recognise shared goals and where there is a history of shared working to build upon. The Guide also provides some “decision trees” to allow practitioners think about how they want to work with others.

Source: John Forrester, The DISTILLATE Guide to Cross-sectoral and Intra-organisational Partnership Working for Sustainable Transport Decision Making, 2008, available from