At an event in Brussels on Wednesday 12 December, over 50 participants from across Europe's SUMP community to discuss what to include in the upcoming update of the EU SUMP Guidelines.
The morning,which was organised by CIVITAS SUMPs-Up, was opened by Matthew Baldwin, Deputy Director-General at the European Commission's Directorate General for Transport and Mobility.
He emphasised that “solutions to address urban mobility challenges exist in cities“. When combined with their innovative and entrepreneurial spirit, much of what is necessary to create the next generation of SUMPs is already there.
Following this, three cities with experience of using the Guidelines - Maia (Portugal), Tampere (Finland), and Oradea (Romania) - presented their SUMP stories.
Marta Moreira from Maia made clear the challenges involved in changing attitudes and the requirement to be “courageous” in a town where cars have 70% modal share.
Speaking about Oradea, Ciprian Barna said that a set of SUMP indicators at EU level is vital to benchmark success, even if progress is apparent like Oradea, where a SUMP and measures such as an express bus lane have been implemented.
Sanna Ovaska outlined Tampere’s desire to become carbon neutral by 2030 and how mobility will contribute. However, she thought that just offering mobility improvements, like the new tramline in her city, is insufficient: “carrots are not enough, sticks are needed.”
The ensuing panel discussion between Matthew Baldwin and the three cities saw all cities emphasise that the new Guidelines should explain how to move from pilots, to projects, to policy.
The second half of the morning, an interactive workshop, enabled the participants – with backgrounds ranging from cities, industry, academia and civil society to EU and international institutions - to express what they would like to see in the updated Guidelines.
Funding was a recurring topic. The desire was expressed for detailed information to be included on possible sources, alongside comparisons of how much measures cost. Such figures could help overcome a crucial barrier - political reluctance.
Ways to create (political) support were also discussed. The importance of local knowledge and understanding the impact measures might have on individual lives, particularly if negative, was repeated.
To achieve this, dialogue must be integral to and be present at the beginning of the SUMP process. Advice for ensuring buy-in from and the involvement of various stakeholders throughout the SUMP process will sit at the heart of the Guidelines.
The contributions gathered from all those in Brussels will serve to inform and inspire the document, a version of which will be presented at the next EU SUMP Conference. This will take place in Groningen (the Netherlands), 17-18 June 2019.
The event formed part of ICLEI Europe's Breakfast at Sustainability's series.