ACTIVITY 2.4: Consider getting external support


By Ash Oyofo / Updated: 28 Nov 2019


For most public authorities, the specific skills required for running the Sustainable Urban Mobility Planinfo-icon process will exceed the capacities of their staff. The aim is to cover immediate skill requirements by contracting external experts if needed, but also to develop and maintain expertise of Sustainable Urban Mobilityinfo-icon Planning within your own organisation.



  • Balance short-term skill requirements and build capacity within your own organisation and in the wider professional community.

  • Facilitate an efficient planning process that makes the best use of resources.

  • Add value to the SUMP by cooperating with experts that contribute new approaches or fresh perspectives on key issues.



  • Based on your strategyinfo-icon to cover skill gaps (see Activity 1.1), decide for which tasks external support is needed, if they cannot be efficiently covered through internal capacity buildinginfo-icon (or the recruitment of new staff).

  • Consider getting external support for tasks for which a lack of skills in your organisation would reduce quality or prolong the process considerably if attempted internally.

  • Decide if tasks could be tendered as a bundle (normally tasks that are closely related to each other, e.g. citizeninfo-icon engagementinfo-icon and communication) or require very specific skills and need to be tendered separately (e.g. datainfo-icon collection, or, even more specifically, a household survey or an analysis of cycling infrastructure quality).

  • Tender and contract external services for the selected tasks. Use clear terms of reference that describe the tasks as precisely as possible, including a timeline and concrete outputs for each task. Use suitable criteria for the selection of offers, which need to be specified in the terms of reference. In addition to the price, you should give proper weight to content criteria (e.g. quality of the described concept and methods, and the expertise of offered personnel). Experience has shown that quality pays off, and unrealistically low offers often lead to low-quality results or follow-up costs for cities.

  • When delegating project management activities to a consultant, keep the overall coordination within your planning authorityinfo-icon. For all delegated tasks, always foresee sufficient time and resources for quality managementinfo-icon by your organisation. Integrate capacity building activities in terms of reference whenever possible so that your internal staff can gain the respective competencies for the next planning process.


Timing and coordination

  • Take into account the timing of planned tenders when developing the timeline and work plan.

  • Conduct tendering and contracting only after receiving political mandate and approval of the work plan.



✔ Decision made on which tasks to get external support for (if any).
✔ Services tendered and suitable contractor chosen who understands the SUMP approach.

Examples of tasks to get external support on:

More info: 


SUMP development driven by external consultants

Cluj-Napoca’s Urban Mobility Plan was developed by an external consultancy under the coordination and guidance of Jaspers and EBRD. Consultants lead the organisation and implementation of the entire process, including data collection, analysis of the existing situation, and the development of the SUMP Action Plan. Internal staff was also closely involved in all steps, providing valuable knowledge about the local context, and thereby supported the consultants in developing tailor- made solutions and a robust SUMP. Overall, hiring external consultants brought technical expertise and fresh thinking, and helped to improve the efficiency of the planning process.

Author: City of Cluj-Napoca, collected by ICLEI

GOOD PRACTICE EXAMPLE: Thessaloniki, Greece

Expert support to set up a mobility monitoring centre

For the development of the SUMP and the monitoring of measures, local authorities of Thessaloniki analysed a wide range of mobility data. The municipality signed a cooperation agreement (2016 - ongoing) with a research institute, benefitting from its scientific skills in sustainable mobility planning, as well as in ITS, big data management and transport modelling. The cooperation was key to ensure that the SUMP implementation includes a good mix of technical and scientific work, increasing the capacity and skills of the local authority’s staff in stakeholder engagement and data collection.

Author: Maria Zourna, Municipality of Thessaloniki, and Georgia Aifantopoulou & Maria Morfoulaki, CERTH/Hellenic Institute of Transport, collected by Polis