Update of the sustainable urban transport plan
The update of the city’s existing transport plans made Ljubljana the first city in Slovenia and one of the first of the new European member states to transform its transport strategy into a modern sustainable urban transport plan that meets recently set European standards. Many aspects of the plan are included in the new Transport Strategy of COL to 2020 which has been adopted by the City Council in September 2012.
Implementing sustainable mobility
Increasing car dependency, congestion, air pollution and lower quality of life has made Ljubljana realize that current approach to transport planning has to be changed. A sustainable urban transport plan (SUTP) helped Ljubljana develop multifaceted policy responses based on a comprehensive long-term strategy. It encourages new efficient ways of local planning with existing resources including budget, staff, knowledge, technology and infrastructure. The SUTP provides the framework for an integrated package of measures that create synergies and will have a real and lasting impact.
The main objectives of the measure were to:
- Develop a SUTP with realistic objectives and targets and guarantee its timely and effective implementation in a participatory process involving citizens and stakeholders;
- Use the opportunity of the CIVITAS network to include foreign experts’ inputs into SUTP preparation;
- Develop and disseminate a Slovenian SUTP manual to stimulate its preparation and adoption in other cities;
- Spread the knowledge among the local, national and international stakeholders;
- Improve the modal split towards sustainable modes of transport.
Development of SUTP was based on EU guidelines and experience from other cities. Most importantly, it was developed in a participatory process involving stakeholders and citizens. In this regard, Ljubljana stressed the importance of collective decision making and transparency. The city is convinced that the results from such an approach strengthen the local political culture and public ownership of the SUTP. This is one of the most important parts of the supporting activities taking place during the measure, with the rest being: time-planning the entire process carefully; meeting specific requirements in terms of coordination of actors with an adequate horizontal integration; undertaking particular efforts for cross-sector policy integration; achieving social inclusion and gender equity; working with the media; developing a SUMP marketing strategy; ensuring the availability of key staff skills; and performing a prudent technical management and evaluation. Identification of gaps and adding missing elements to the existing mobility related plans was one of the starting points. Then clear objectives, targets policies, responsible actors were set.
The measure was progressing in line with the objectives stated above. In the first half of the CIVITAS-ELAN project, Ljubljana carried out several workshops in order to assess the current status of mobility, develop a common vision, define objectives, set targets, define measures and responsible actors and the need for a monitoring plan of timely and effective implementation.. Foreign experts were also included to improve the process. Next, the SUTP was designed and finished in June 2011. Once the SUTP was in place, the SUTP manual was developed in the last part of the project in 2012 and Ljubljana gave trainings to other Slovenian municipalities. In line with the participatory approach, 8 lectures and workshops of foreign experts from different fields of strategic transport planning were organised during the whole CIVITAS-ELAN project as a part of a CIVITAS-ELAN Open Academy. The ambition of the CIVITAS-ELAN Open Academy was to continue transferring the knowledge to Slovenia also after the end of the project. In addition, the successful outreach campaign reached several thousand people through events, newsletters and other communication tools.
Ljubljana expected the measure to lead to an enhanced public debate on the future development of the city’s transport system and improved public awareness of sustainable urban mobility, which have indeed been strengthened already during the lifetime of the CIVITAS-ELAN project. In the long-run, the city expects better accessibility and the development of a more sustainable urban mobility system, improvement of the modal split towards sustainable modes of transport and better environmental, economic, social and cultural future of the city. Ljubljana also expects more Slovenian municipalities to be encouraged to undertake the similar process by gaining an increased awareness and knowledge of the importance of comprehensive mobility planning. Also the public debate on SUTP in Slovenia has been is expected to be enhanced.
The main findings and suggestions from ELAN’s update have also been included in the City’s “Transport Policy Proposal until 2020”. The final Elan document was finished after nearly three years of work on the project. This should have been followed by formal adoption and approval of the updated SUTP as this ensures the legitimate status of the policies defined in the plan but it equally secures accountability and acceptance. However, the city administration decided not to go with this particular strategy and would instead develop a new version of transport strategy with a broader content, such as technical guidelines for planning. The addopted Transport policy till 2020 represents a very ambitious mobility strategy for Ljubljana, aiming for a modal split of one third for walning and cycling, one third for PT and one third for a personal car (now it istwo thirds). Still, its foundations lie in the SUMP, developed by Civitas team. Without work in Civitas, none of the strategies would have been developed.
Many Slovenian municipalities and regions have already attended training sessions organized within ELAN and have expressed a will to transfer or adapt Ljubljana’s solutions to their cities/ regions. The national Ministry for Infrastructure and Spatial Planning has started an initiative in this field and is supporting municipalities in the development of their SUMP. This wouldn’t have happened so soon without the work in Ljubljana and ELAN. The city of Ljutomer, for example, was the first city where the City Council has already adopted their SUMP in July 2012. Maribor, Nova Gorica and Škofja Loka are cities likely to follow. It is clear that SUMP is becoming an important topic in Slovenia which is also the result of the work within ELAN.