The Horizon 2020 CIVITAS PROSPERITY project aimed to enable and create a culture shift in government agencies and local authorities to support SUMPs. The project focused on promoting and supporting a broad take-up of SUMPs especially in countries, regions and cities where the take-up is currently low. It aimed to achieve this by providing mechanisms and tools for national and regional agencies to take a leading role in the development of SUMPs, and building professional capacity through peer-to-peer exchange programmes and tailor made training programmes on various aspects of SUMPs and innovative approaches in sustainable urban mobility.
Closing the gap
A concept for the development of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs) has emerged from a broad exchange between stakeholders and planning experts across the European Union. But even though there is now a broadly understood concept, the take up of it in some countries and areas remained low. The reason is obvious: there has been a gap between the needs and requirements of the cities that develop and implement SUMPs, and the higher levels of government who can, when circumstances are right, play a vital role in preparing the ground for SUMP, especially by providing programmes and financing to encourage cities to develop and implement SUMPs.
CIVITAS PROSPERITY’S main aim was to close this gap, based on the understanding that in many countries, cities will follow the lead of national government as well as of EU institutions.
A unique approach to encourage the wider uptake of SUMPs
The PROSPERITY project took a unique approach to encouraging the wider uptake of SUMPs in those countries on the city level, the national level and the EU level, and to encourage horizontal collaboration between all these levels across countries. In addition, national level exchanges of experience and training events brought together cities and national level agencies in each country to build mutual understand-ing about the process of SUMP, as well as to build capacity.
Bring about a culture shift in transport planning at all levels of government
The majority of the activities of the project took place in Southern, Central-eastern and Eastern Europe. This low uptake was the result of a number of different factors: different cultures, different planning and implementation traditions, and a lack of understanding as to why SUMP is an innovative and useful tool and not just a tick-box exercise to produce a document.
In these regions the communication, the political and internal buy-in and a common understanding of sustainable transport objectives and the way to reach them is at least as important as the SUMP itself. CIVITAS PROSPERITY helped to increase the take up of SUMP in these countries, whilst bearing in mind cultural differences. This happened through regular peer-to-peer exchange between the national level authorities of different countries, and through a long term national development process in each country, in which the national level interacted and still interacts with the cities and other important stakeholders within a country-specific national SUMP task force.