The first steps toward sustainable transportation were taken by Polish cities already in the 1990s, due to the rapid growth of motorization 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.
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.
New generations of strategic documents being adopted at the national level increasingly recognized the need for further action to develop sustainable mobility.
The 2017 Strategy for responsible development among other goals indicated the way in which changes in individual and collective mobility should be achieved in the perspective by 2020 and 2030.
Direct reference to the SUMP concept was made for the first time in the Strategy for Sustainable Transport Development to 2030 (STD2030), adopted in 2019.
STD2030 highlights that there is a need for urban planning accounting for the SUMP idea. The main objective of such approach is the organisation of a sustainable transport system in Polish cities by means of: increasing the effectiveness of urban passenger and freight transport; ensuring accessibility to workplaces and services to all inhabitants; ensuring comfort and safety of urban transport; increasing the attractiveness and the quality of urban environment; reducing environmental pollution, greenhouse effect and energy consumption by urban passenger and freight transport.
On 14 June 2022, the Polish government adopted the most important document for conducting urban policy: National Urban Policy 2030 (NUP 2030). The National Urban Policy is a document focused on the sustainable development of cities and urban functional areas. The NUP 2030 clearly states that it is advisable to introduce comprehensive optimisation of the manner of planning urban development with a consideration of all identified challenges, including satisfaction of mobility needs or climate change adaptation. A basic direction of measures in this scope is the coordination of mobility and urban spatial planning due to the SUMPs.
In this context, the implementation of the identified strategic objectives in the area of urban mobility will focus on promoting the development and implementation of SUMPs by cities. SUMPs should cover entire functional urban areas and take into account correlations between all modes of transport.
Activities at the national and the local level
The Ministry of Infrastructure has been conducting many activities aimed at encouraging cities to develop and implement SUMPs. At the end of 2016, in cooperation with the JASPERS Initiative, training sessions were organized for representatives of local governments on this subject.
From 2017 to 2019, the Ministry of Infrastructure participated in an EU project entitled PROSPERITY (Prosperity through innovation and promotion of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan), funded by Horizon 2020. In cooperation with the PROSPERITY National Focal Point a guidebook on SUMP development was developed, adapted to Polish legal and institutional conditions.
Although it is optional for Polish cities to have SUMP, larger centers in Poland have made an effort to develop their own plans (e.g. Gdynia, Kraków, Wrocław).
To provide support to cities and functional areas in their preparation or updating, in 2019 the Ministry of Infrastructure, the Ministry of Funds and Regional Policy and the Center for EU Transport Projects launched the "Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans" pilot, in preparation for the 2021-2027 financial perspective with the participation over 30 beneficiaries.
In addition, in 2022, under the Technical Support Instrument, the project "Support for Polish Cities/Agglomerations/Metropolitan Areas in the preparation of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans" was launched, in which a consultant selected by the European Commission supports 15 Polish cities in the implementation of SUMP.
Also, within the framework of EU programmes from the 2021-2027 perspective, there is a possibility of financing SUMP preparation by local governments. Based on the experience of the ongoing pilot project, changes were made to the SUMP development support model in Poland, contributing to further stimulating this process.
As part of the introduction of systemic measures for the development of SUMP, a SUMP Plenipotentiary was appointed at the Ministry of Infrastructure. In addition, the SUMP Competence Center was established, which will provide advice and support to local government units. The Steering Committee for SUMP support was also established as an auxiliary body of the Minister of Infrastructure. The Steering Committee has undertaken work on the preparation of "Quality Management Principles for Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans in Poland".
Over the past years Polish cities, the R&D community and other entities have been actively participating in various EU projects such as ENDURANCE, CH4LLENGE, CIVITAS PROSPERITY, SUMPs for BSR, Park4SUMP, NXTLVL Parking.
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.
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.
After the crisis caused by the COVID pandemic, the number of passengers of public transportation is slowly recovering. In 2021 PT fleets carried 2,500.9 million passengers, which is 10.1% more than in 2020 (survey of Central Statistical Office of Poland).
Member State activities:
Legislative and/or regulatory basis for urban transport planning
- Strategy for Sustainable Transport Development to 2030, 2019 (in Polish)
- National Urban Policy 2030, 2022
Urban mobility planning guidance
- CIVITAS PROSPERITY - GUIDE - developing a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) (in Polish)