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Mobility and Transport

Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs) and Cycling

Overview and key features

A Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) is “a strategic plan designed to satisfy the mobility needs of people and businesses in cities and their surroundings for a better quality of life. It builds on existing planning practices and takes due consideration of integration, participation and evaluation principles”.

SUMPs have been designed to tackle transport-related problems in urban areas more efficiently. SUMPs are a structured process whereby visions are created, objectives and targets are set, policies and measures are selected and active communication, monitoring and evaluation all take place.

SUMPs contribute to reaching the European climate and energy targets set by EU leaders. SUMPs have been promoted by the Commission as a new planning concept able to address transport-related challenges and problems of urban areas in a more sustainable and integrative way via the Action Plan on Urban Mobility (2009) and Transport White Paper (2011).

Function and objectives

The recent European SUMP guidelines outline the objects as follows:

  • Ensure all residents are offered transport options that enable access to key destinations and services;
  • 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 for the benefits of residents, the economy and society as a whole.

The SUMP process aims to achieve these benefits through:

  • Defining mobility policies in the context of a clear vision
  • Identifying measurable targets to address long-term challenges of urban mobility
  • Ensuring the involvement of stakeholders at appropriate stages
  • Achieving collaboration between relevant policy areas and authorities

As SUMPs are concerned with all modes of urban transport, cycling is a one element of the plan. Cycling measures are included in those recommended in a SUMP, and those cycling are also likely to benefit from other measures implemented as a result of the SUMP process (not-necessarily aimed at cycling – including traffic calming, traffic and parking restrictions etc.). Cyclists and cycling organisations can also be important stakeholders/contributors in the SUMP process when identifying problems, objectives and measures.


It is anticipated that a number of benefits of using the SUMP process can be achieved. These include:

  • Improving quality of life;
  • Saving costs – creating economic benefits;
  • Contributing to better health and environment;
  • Making mobility seamless and improving access;
  • Making more effective use of limited resources;
  • Winning public support;
  • Preparing better plans;
  • Fulfilling legal obligations effectively;
  • Using synergies, increasing relevance; and
  • Moving towards a new mobility culture.

The Commission’s concept of a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (annexed to 2013 Urban Mobility Package) addresses urban transport practitioners and other stakeholders involved in the development and implementation of SUMPs, and states that a SUMP should incorporate a plan to raise the attractiveness, safety and security of walking and cycling.

Revised SUMP guidelines, incorporating the results of EU-funded projects and recent developments in urban mobility, will be published on Eltis – the urban mobility observatory in Autumn 2019. These will feature a dedicated section on cycling.

Further Information

Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) guidelines

Eltis website (Urban Mobility Observatory)