After 1990, during the beginning of a significant transitional period for Poland, the government withdrew support cities wanting to solve urban transport problems. Several cities made great efforts to cope with growing problems caused by the rapid growth of motorisation and the deterioration of public transport. Kraków (1993) and Warsaw (1995) were the first cities which approved transport policies based on principles of sustainability.
In the former National Transport Policy for 2006-2025, the directions of sustainable urban transport policies were formulated. The adoption of the Public Collective/Mass Transport Act in December 2010 based on REGULATION (EC) No 1370/2007, was a next crucial move. Over 100 cities and communes were obliged to prepare Plans of Sustainable Public Transport (called Transport Plans) to March 2014. The Chamber of Urban Transport (IGKM, 2011) produced guidelines. Plans prepared for Gdynia, Kraków, Poznań and Warsaw are examples of high-quality products. In addition, urban mobility policy has been formulated in Wroclaw (2013). Draft of the Warsaw Mobility Policy is after consultations and is awaiting final approval.
In the 2013 Transport Development Strategy, Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs) were not mentioned but the measures proposed will help to achieve its objectives. In the National Urban Policy, adopted by the Council of Ministers in October 2015, sustainable urban mobility is one of 10 main areas. The 2017 Strategy for responsible development among other goals indicates the way in which changes in individual and collective mobility should be achieved in the perspective by 2020 and 2030. Actions should aim at increasing the efficiency and attractiveness of public transport, which will encourage residents to change the means of transport from individual to collective. The strong impact of EU policy on the development of urban transport systems in Polish cities is visible. Regulations, the promotion of appropriate solutions/practices and the financing of research and development (R&D) and investment projects (infrastructure, rolling stock and ITS) are main areas of support.
Polish cities, the R&D community and other entities have been actively participating in various EU projects such as ENDURANCE and CH4LLENGE. Generally, in spite of rapid motorisation growth, the implementation of SUMP principles has resulted in maintaining a high share of public transport use in Polish cities. Although between 2000 and 2015 the share of public transport in non-pedestrian trips dropped from 50 to 65 per cent to 45 to 57 per cent in large- and medium- sized cities, it is still much higher than in most European cities. For example, Warsaw belongs to a group of European cities with the highest share of public transport (in 2015 - 46.8 percent of all trips and 57 percent of non-pedestrian trips). The quality of public transport is highly valued by Warsaw citizens. According to regular public opinion surveys (Warsaw Barometer), the percentage of respondents who think the quality of public transport is very good and good has growth from 53 per cent in 2003 to 89 per cent in 2015.
In October 2015, the National Urban Policy 2023 (KPM) was adopted. This serves the purposefully targeted state action for the sustainable development of cities although the detailed rules for the organization of public transport are contained in the 2010 Public Transport Act.
Legislative and/or regulatory basis for urban transport planning
Urban mobility planning guidance
- Guidance Document on Sustainable Development of Public Transport for Communities and Intercommunal Associations, 2011 (in Polish)
Main national support mechanisms
- Guidelines to Shape Streets in City Centres - Poradnik organizacja przestrzeni ulic w obszarach śródmiejskich, 2013 (in Polish)