ACTIVITY 3.2: Analyse problems and opportunities (all modes)


By Tom Wood / Updated: 28 Nov 2019


A good mobilityinfo-icon analysis is crucial in helping to define appropriate policies and provides the necessary baselineinfo-icon against which progress can be measured. The analysis should be as comprehensive as possible, but also needs to be manageable considering the given resources. A proper analysis of all transport networks, modes and key aspects of sustainable urban mobility need to be ensured, but you should avoid spending too much time and energy on analysing comprehensive datainfo-icon that is of low relevance to the key issues in your city. Wherever useful, the planning process should build on the results of already existing plans and strategies.



  • Provide a review of the current status of important mobility and transport developments in the entire functional urban area, based on data and relevant planning documents both for passenger mobility and freight transport.

  • Prepare a list of problems and opportunities that relate to urban mobility (e.g. accessibilityinfo-icon to services, pollution, social inequity, road safety, climate protection, land-use patterns and resilience of the network).

  • Identify and prioritise key problems to be addressed by your SUMP.



  • Check key planning documents relevant to urban transport for a useful analysis of the current status, problems and strategies. Such documents may include sectoral mobility strategies and plans (e.g. on walking, cycling, public transport, road transport, parking, freight) as well as plans and documents from other relevant policyinfo-icon areas (e.g. land use, energy, environmentinfo-icon, economic development, social inclusioninfo-icon, health and safety), from local transport operators and other municipalities. (Builds on Activity 2.2 in your analysis of planning documents).

  • Also, look at the municipal budget. How much has been invested in the different transport modes and in measures addressing the different sustainabilityinfo-icon aspects? Is this consistent with your city’s priorities or do discrepancies exist?

  • Analyse your data (retrieved in Activity 3.1). Make sure to also use spatial analysis methods, for example by mapping road accidents, air pollution and noise levels, areas far away from any parks, areas inaccessible by public transport, or gaps in the network of cycle paths and footpaths. Based on existing information and expert assessments, preliminarily identify the main problems and strategies.

  • Together with key stakeholders and citizens, prepare a baseline analysis to identify and prioritise the main problems to be addressed by your SUMP. As far as possible, try to quantify the current status of mobility and transport and visualise it on maps. Your baseline should include the status, trends and problem areas of:

    • all transport modes used in your city, including freight transport and the level of integrationinfo-icon of modes (multimodalityinfo-icon);

    • all main sustainable mobility aspects relevant to your city (e.g. air pollution, traffic noise, road safety, liveability of public spaces, equitable accessibility to services, employment and education).

  • Involve residents in the analysis of problems and opportunities (e.g. by offering online maps where they can locate negative and positive areas for specific transport modes).

  • Assess social exclusion aspects in the framework of transport policies. This means considering the needs of the whole community, including vulnerable groups such as children, people with reduced mobility, the elderly, low-income households, minority groups, etc. Genderinfo-icon aspects, i.e. giving women and men the same opportunities, should also be looked at. Important questions to consider are:

    • Does the transport system guarantee equal access, affordability and availability?

    • Do transport-related measures facilitate employment and support the development of an inclusive labour market?


Activities beyond essential requirements

  • Draw on key actor knowledge to obtain an insight into sectoral policy documents (e.g. through interviews, meetings).

  • Based on the preliminary identification of main problems and opportunities, consider doing focused analyses to complete the picture. For example, a hypothesis-led analysis to verify a specific issue that has been raised, a diagnostic-led analysis to try to identify issues that have not been raised, or a visioninfo-icon- led analysis to explore future priority topics in-depth.


Timing and coordination



✔ Problems and opportunities with key stakeholders and citizens discussed and analysed.
✔ Review and problem analysis concluded. Status of all transport modes and main aspects of sustainable urban mobility described.
✔ Baseline set against which progress can be measured.
✔ Key opportunities and problems to be addressed by the SUMP prioritised.


Figure 19: Example of how an analysis table can be used to define the status of the transport system (baseline analysis) (adapted from Sundberg, R., 2018. SUMPs-Up Manual on the integration of measures and measureinfo-icon packages - Start, p. 10.)

“Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I’ll tell you what they are.” (James W. Frick)

The level of sustained investments in cycling infrastructure is a litmus test of how much cycling development is valued. The United Nations Environmental Programme recommended that at least 20% of the whole transport budget should be dedicated to non-motorised transport. In the Netherlands, Europe’s most cycling-friendly country, about 35€ per person is being invested annually in cycling development, with the largest share coming from the local authorities. For the mobility analysis, the investment made for the different modes is a good indicatorinfo-icon to observe the prioritised fields of action of a city and to uncover potential gaps in investment, such as in Cycling.

More guidance on how to successfully promote cycle use in Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning can be found in the Practitioner Briefing Supporting and encouraging cycling in Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning


Figure 20: Example of how to illustrate the consistency between the city’s priorities (with regards to transport modes and targets in this example) and what the city actually invests in (adapted from Sundberg, R., 2018. SUMPs- Up Manual on the integration of measures and measure packages - Step up, p. 11.)


Milestone: Analysis of problems and opportunities concluded

At this point of the cycle, you should have finished all preparational steps and the status analysis. You have a good overview of the mobility situation and planning framework, you have set up effective working structures and you know what is important to consider for developing the SUMP’s vision, objectives, targets, and measures in your city. As a fundamental milestone of Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning, you should have achieved a common understanding, together with important stakeholders, of the main problems and opportunities. It is possible to involve key stakeholders and local politicians again in order to foster acceptance of the SUMP, make the process accountable and provide a sound basis for the upcoming strategyinfo-icon development. You should share the summarised results of your analysis, including all problems and opportunities, and ensure support for further involvement in Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning. For an easier process of sharing your results and breaking down the main problems and opportunities, you would ideally summarise the key findings of the analysis in a ‘baseline report’.

More info: 


Comprehensive approach including manual, mechanical, survey and app-based data collection

The City of Malmö uses a mix of methods to collect data on the mobility situation as well as noise and air pollution. This includes manual and mechanical traffic counts twice a year, as well as travel surveys to measure changes and influencing factors of travel habits every five years. Next to the traditional way, the last survey was set up to be used in an online application for mobile phones. The key success factor is to connect the collected data to the traffic model and the follow- up of infrastructural investments in the city. This supports the decision-makers in their actions for the development of the city.

Author: Andreas Nordin, City of Malmö, collected UBC


Accessibility screenings for children and the elderly

The SUMP of the city of Deinze includes accessibility screenings for public space and road design connecting different activity places in the city. The accessibility screenings are an example of how the city applies the principles and objectives of ‘prioritising modes’, ‘attention to vulnerable target groups’ and ‘proximity’, as defined in the Flemish SUMP program, starting from the analysis.

Author: City of Deinze, collected by Mobiel 21