SUMPs are now in vogue! November 2012

Who would have thought that the most popular measure in the whole of the CIVITAS Plus programme (2008-2012) would be a SUMP (Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan)? That was the outcome of an ‘Investment Auction’ at the CIVITAS Forum in Spain on September 26th where visitors where asked to vote on the most transferable demonstration measure.

SUMPS! What Are They?
A SUMP is an ambitious undertaking for any city and must aim to create a sustainable urban transport system by addressing the following objectives:

  • Ensure the transport system is accessible to all;
  • Improve safety and security;
  • Reduce air and noise pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption;
  • Improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the transportation of persons and goods;
  • Contribute to enhancing the attractiveness and quality of the urban environment and urban design.

Attendees at the Forum (including city authorities and transport operators from all over Europe) were shown key achievements from the four year CIVITAS PLUS programme and asked to ‘put their money’ on the measure they would most like to implement back home.

Participants were given ‘Civicash’ notes that they could use to bid on their favourite measure and the winner was the SUMP implemented in Skopje, Macedonia.

Why So Popular?
They shunned measures that would have been easier and cheaper to implement and chose the ambitious plan that defines a vision for future sustainable development of the city’s transport system to improve the quality of life of citizens in Skopje. The plan incorporates innovative transport management strategies and solutions to:

  • Reduce congestion;
  • Reduce dependence on private cars;
  • Favour environmentally sustainable modes and vehicles;
  • Increase public awareness of collective transport.

Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan by Interactions
The quality of the service was improved through real-time passenger information, smart ticketing solutions based on an integrated fare system and this looks set to continue with the impending arrival of a new bus fleet and updated bus stops. Skopje has also invested in a cable car that can carry 1160 passengers to connect the city centre with the higher suburbs.

Other measures ‘For Sale’ at the CIVITAS FORUM included the Utrecht Cargohopper, Aalborg’s Cycle Motorway, Funchal’s Urban Orienteering, Brighton and Hove’s School Travel Plans and Tallinn’s Eco Driving.  These stand-alone urban mobility measures, quite successful in their own right, were beaten hands down by the more ambitious SUMP.

Setting the European Trend!
Skopje is the first city in Macedonia to transform its transport strategy into a modern sustainable urban transport plan that will meet recently set European standards. In March 2011, the European Commission released its White Paper Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system (COM(2011)0144 final). This Transport White Paper calls for cities to follow a mixed strategy involving land-use planning, pricing schemes, efficient public transport services and infrastructure for non-motorised modes and charging/refuelling of clean vehicles to reduce congestion and emissions. It specifically encourages cities above a certain size to develop Urban Mobility Plans bringing all these elements together.

The Transport White Paper asks for an examination of the possibility to make Urban Mobility Plans a mandatory approach for cities of a certain size, according to national standards based on EU Guidelines. It also suggests to link regional development and cohesion funds to cities and regions that have submitted a current, independently validated Urban Mobility Performance and Sustainability Audit certificate.

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