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BUMP workshop reflects on the keys to successful mobility planning

The conclusions drawn from three years of work within the EU-funded BUMP project were presented at a workshop in Brussels (Belgium) on 16 March, with speakers and panellists outlining the key elements in developing a successful sustainable urban mobility plan (SUMP).

The event was the 19th edition of the ongoing Breakfast at Sustainability’s series and focused on SUMP planning in small and medium sized communities. The BUMP project provided local authorities in nine European countries with the knowledge and skills to plan and manage sustainable mobility.

Participants and panellists agreed that a SUMP must be realistic and implementable within budgetary constraints, that citizen participation should be guided by experts, and that cities should take advantage of the available means to collect data, including sharing information between different departments.

Isabelle Maës of the European Commission’s DG MOVE opened the proceedings, providing an overview of the European Commission’s role in setting the European transport agenda. Ms Maës pointed out that while transport falls under national legislation, the EU supplies a policy framework that encourages member states to follow best practices. It also supplies grants and funding to make transport more sustainable.

BUMP project coordinator Fabio Tomasi looked at the work of the project, stressing the importance of adapting SUMP planning to the local context and moving away from “one-size-fits-all” approaches. The need to make information available in the national language of each country was also mentioned, as was the requirement for education to reflect current planning developments. Through the project 36 SUMPs were developed, with 177 participants taking part in the various BUMP trainings.

A panel discussion featuring experts from the project countries was held. Lucia Ilieva of CSDCS Bulgaria said of the project: “Bulgarian cities are very grateful for BUMP as it trained them and allowed them to travel to other cities to experience their SUMP approach – something they otherwise would not have been able to do due to limited budgets. The project provided an important service.”

Leonardo Naldini of Perugia spoke of the value of truly parsing citizens’ needs, giving the example of a citizen consultation that showed an overwhelming desire for a well-serviced bus route to the local hospital. In reality the bus route was poorly used as most people drove to the hospital - the desire for the route was partly motivated out of a fear of being stranded if a car was unavailable.

Claudio Mantero of Funchal, Portugal, and Abel Ortego of CIRCE, Spain, agreed on the benefit of using data already collected by the city rather than spending money trying to find new solutions, while Luca Mercatelli of AREA Science Park Trieste spoke about the necessity of defining what is relevant and cost effective in the local context. Christof Marx of EASME closed the event, congratulating BUMP on identifying and pursuing capacity building as a crucial area for the take up of SUMPs.

For your convenience, please find below the presentations given during the workshop: 

(Picture by Joel Müller)