Tampere’s first Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) stood out due to its multidisciplinary approach that empowers people to make healthier mobility choices that are active, safe and environmentally responsible. This earned Tampere the 10th SUMP Award. The ambitious plan includes impact assessments on the effect of mobility campaigns on the local population, as well as a focus on low-carbon mobility, road safety, vulnerable groups, smart mobility solutions, physical and mental well-being, accessibility and low pollution levels. The other finalists were Madrid (ES) and Mitrovica South (KO).
Tampere is the second-largest urban area in Finland and is an important university city, cultural and technology hub in Scandinavia. Thanks to these specificities, Tampere is also attracting commuters from the surrounding eight municipalities. The geography and the population growth give the city a unique character, but the limited space presents challenges to the traffic system. The scarce space alone could justify a need to shift from private cars to more sustainable and space-effective options.
With ambitious climate and environmental targets and a shared will to prevent segregation, inactivity and inequality, a clear vision for sustainable mobility and future modal share is evolving. This includes a newly built tram system and bike sharing facilities that have opened recently.
The city board approved Tampere’s first SUMP in 2021, followed by the implementation phase and detailed elaboration taking place at the same time.
Tampere’s SUMP is divided under six focus areas:
- Climate neutral: Low-carbon mobility, regional public transport and travel chains, urban structure criteria, motive powers.
- Safe: Street safety, safety for vulnerable groups, traffic speeds and calming policy, preventing injuries.
- Efficient: Both financial and spatial efficiency, mobility management and smart mobility solutions, shared economy.
- Active: Physical and mental well-being and preventing immobility.
- Equal: Accessibility, impact assessment, transport poverty, different user groups and different mobility opportunities, no-car and low-car opportunities.
- Environmentally responsible: Noise, pollutants, green space.
Additionally, the plan includes some very significant planning policy principles that are not single actions but change the culture and resource allocation. The key goal of the SUMP is to instil the principles of sustainable urban mobility more strongly into mobility planning and decision-making.
The most important perspectives/links are:
- Planning from the targets instead of current trends when assessing mobility needs and solutions, while including and evaluating impacts on all modes of transport and different user groups.
- The transport environment favourable to active mobility.
- Calming policy and lower speeds.
- Accessibility improvements.
This ambitious first iteration of a SUMP is focusing on mobility management instead of new investments, the development of cross-administrative impact assessment, zone-specific modal share objectives and co-planning with residents now have stronger support from SUMP than before. Since the SUMP is a novel concept for the Finnish city, no concrete results have been achieved yet. One of the main aims is to achieve a threshold of 20% of trips done by public transport, which is supported by the previously mentioned tram network and by fostering rail traffic across the city’s strategic ‘growth and vitality zone’, as outlined in the local master plan. It consists of the most efficiently built areas in the inner city served by intensive public transport.
In the future, the public transport system will be reinforced by expanding the tramway and by developing commuter train traffic. Commuter trains are the most beneficial in journeys between Tampere and surrounding municipalities, and commuter trains can cut the travel times of these journeys significantly compared to the current public transport services.
Targets for creating healthier choices are very much linked with the themes “active”, “safe”, “equal” and “environmentally responsible”, in addition to the overall multidisciplinary perspective of Tampere’s SUMP. The approach is not to evaluate the impacts of actions from only one perspective but find the most effective measures to cover different targets.
Some important themes under the target “safe” are the calming policy in residential areas, school routes, environment safety and improving winter care. Feelings of safety and accessibility are important as they very much affect mobility choices. The transport environment that is favourable for active and sustainable modes of mobility meets many safety and equality needs. This not only includes the physical traffic environment but also the services and mobility culture.
Cooperation with the younger generation has a high priority for Tampere. Tools for child rights impact assessments are developed in Tampere, together with the city planning and mobility units and welfare and health units. The Finnish city and the local schools cooperated to encourage active and independent school trips by bike, scooter, or on foot. Information leaflets with maps, recommended parking spots further away from school doors and zebra crossing campaigns are one such example of mobility management campaigns.