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The SUMP concept

By Admin Eltis / Updated: 28 May 2019

The need for more sustainable and integrative planning processes as a way of dealing with the complexity of urban mobility has been widely recognised.

New approaches to urban mobility planning are emerging as local authorities seek to break out of past silo approaches and develop strategies that can stimulate a shift towards cleaner and more sustainable transport modes.

The 2013 Urban Mobility Package (link is external)sets out a concept for Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (link is external)(SUMPs) that has emerged from a broad exchange between stakeholders and planning experts across the European Union. The concept describes the main features of a modern and sustainable urban mobility and transport plan. It comprises the following main elements:

  1. Goals and objectives
    A SUMP's central goal is improving the accessibility of urban areas and providing high-quality and sustainable mobility and transport to, through and within the urban area. It regards the needs of the 'functioning city' and its hinterland rather than a municipal administrative region.

  2. A long-term vision and clear implementation plan
    A SUMP presents, or is linked to, an existing, long-term strategy for the future development of the urban area and, in this context, for the future development of transport and mobility infrastructure and services. It equally includes a delivery plan for short-term implementation of the strategy, specifying the timing for implementation, clearly allocating responsibilities and identifying the required resources and finances.

  3. An assessment of current and future performance
    The Plan should build on a careful assessment of the present and future performance of the urban transport system by reviewing the current situation, establishing a baseline against which future progress can be measured, as well as defining performance objectives and related SMART targets to guide the implementation of the plan.

  4. The balanced and integrated development of all modes
    A SUMP fosters a balanced development of all relevant transport modes, while encouraging a shift towards more sustainable modes. The plan puts forward an integrated set of technical, infrastructure, policy-based, and soft measures to improve performance and cost-effectiveness with regard to the declared goal and specific objectives. It would typically address the following topics:
    (a) Public transport
    (b) Walking and cycling
    (c) Intermodality
    (d) Urban road safety
    (e) Road transport (flowing and stationary)
    (f) Urban logistics
    (g) Mobility management
    (h) Intelligent Transport Systems

  5. Horizontal and vertical integration
    The development and implementation of a SUMP follows an integrated approach with a high level of co-operation, co-ordination and consultation between the different levels of government and relevant authorities. To facilitate this, appropriate structures and procedures should be put in place.

  6. Participatory approach
    A SUMP follows a transparent and participatory approach. The Local Planning Authority should involve the relevant actors - citizens, as well as representatives of civil society and economic actors – in developing and implementing the plan from the outset and throughout the process to ensure a high level of acceptance and support.

  7. Monitoring, review, reporting
    The implementation of a SUMP should be closely monitored. The progress towards the goal and specific objectives of the plan and meeting its targets should be assessed regularly on the basis of the selected indicators. Appropriate action should be taken to ensure timely access to the relevant data and statistics. A monitoring report should provide the basis for a review of implementation.

  8. Quality assurance
    Local Planning Authorities should have mechanisms to ensure the quality and validate compliance of the SUMP with the requirements of the SUMP concept.

EU action on SUMPs

In addition to the European Platform on Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans, the European Commission offers support to European cities to tackle urban mobility challenges by:

  • Supporting exchange and capacity building on sustainable urban development through, among others, the European URBACT(link is external) programme.
  • Improving the quality and availability of data and statistics for urban transport systems operations and decision-making at local, regional, national and EU level.
  • Supporting local partnerships in implementing and testing new urban mobility approaches under real-life conditions as part of the CIVITAS 2020 (link is external)initiative.
  • Providing financial support for urban mobility projects through European Structural and Investment Funds, Horizon 2020, Connecting Europe Facility as well as other financial instruments.

The European Commission is working closely with the Member States to ensure the SUMP concept is adapted to the specific requirements and existing planning practices in each Member State and actively promoted at national level in order to reach hundreds of cities in Europe.