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Mobility and Transport

Sustainable urban mobility planning and monitoring

Sustainable urban mobility plans (SUMPs) are the cornerstone of European urban mobility policy. The European Commission strongly recommends that European towns and cities of all sizes embrace the concept of SUMPs. These can improve the overall quality of life for residents by addressing major challenges related to for example congestion, air/noise pollution, climate change, road safety, and parking. SUMPs also provide a framework for innovation and the integration of new mobility services.

Sustainable urban mobility planning and monitoring are key for the trans-European transport network

In December 2021, the Commission presented a proposal for a revised TEN-T Regulation, including a strengthened role for cities, as vital enablers of sustainable, efficient and multimodal transport. In order to ensure the effective flow and interaction of the entire TEN-T network, the Commission proposal designates more than 400 cities as urban nodes and sets out specific requirements for them. The proposal states that urban nodes should adopt a Sustainable urban mobility plan and collect and regularly submit to the Commission data on key sustainable urban mobility indicators. Annex 5 of the proposal specifies the requirements for urban nodes as regards the development of sustainable urban mobility plans and sets out provisions on how to bring together urban mobility and TEN-T policies within urban nodes to ensure the effective functioning of the TEN-T as a whole. The list of urban nodes is available in Annex 2 of the proposal.

What is a Sustainable urban mobility plan?

A sustainable urban mobility plan 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.

A SUMP should cover the entire functional urban area (a city and its commuting zone), taking into account real traffic flows. A SUMP should foresee cooperation and synergies between all levels of government, local, regional, national and across different policy areas. It should be prepared in partnership with local residents and stakeholders. It ensures a variety of sustainable transport options for the safe, healthy and fluid passage of people and goods, with all due consideration for fellow residents and the urban environment.

SUMP concept and guidelines

As part of the 2013 Urban Mobility Package, the Commission presented a concept for sustainable urban mobility planning. This was well received by cities and towns across Europe, catalysing the preparation and update of hundreds of urban mobility plans.

The original concept was updated in 2023, integrating new EU strategies and policy priorities, without major changes to its original philosophy. The SUMP concept can be found in the Annex to the Commission Recommendation on national SUMP support programmes.

SUMP guidelines give cities advice on a process for preparing and implementing their SUMPs.

National SUMP support programmes

In March 2023, the Commission adopted a Recommendation calling on each Member State to put in place a national programme with a dedicated office to help cities with sustainable urban mobility planning.

National SUMP support programmes should include guidance material, training programmes and capacity building, and provide technical expertise and financial support to cities. They should animate networks of cities and towns and coordinate dedicated communication campaigns.

The Recommendation also provides advice to Member States and cities on how to prepare for the urban nodes requirements that have been proposed for the trans-European transport network.

Sustainable Urban Mobility Indicators (SUMI)

Sustainable urban mobility indicators are a necessary tool for monitoring the implementation of SUMPs and providing feedback to cities and stakeholders. The indicators allow for targeted steering of their implementation. They help to identify the strengths and weaknesses of cities’ mobility systems. The data gathered should allow for progress to be tracked towards the achievement of urban mobility policy objectives at the local, national and European level, and for cities to take timely corrective action, where needed.

The European Commission is working on a set of sustainable urban mobility indicators (SUMI) that capture key aspects of urban mobility policies and provide data based on a harmonised methodology. The Commission proposal for a revised TEN-T Regulation sets out requirements for urban nodes on the TEN-T network to collect data and regularly report on the following key sustainable urban mobility areas: greenhouse gas emissions, congestion, deaths and serious injuries caused by road crashes, modal share for all modes, access to mobility services, data on air and noise pollution in cities.

The final list of indicators and their methodology will be set out in an Implementing Act, to be adopted after the publication of the revised TEN-T Regulation.

Reference materials

To empower towns and cities to develop a SUMP, the European Commission continues to raise awareness through training courses, good practice examples, networking opportunities, and by providing funding opportunities and a coordination platform for SUMP-related projects.

A compendium of non-binding guidance and reference materials, developed through EU co-funded projects, is available to all cities to support them in preparing and implementing their individual SUMPs. Cities are invited to use these information resources as appropriate for their own needs.

The materials are available on EU Urban Mobility Observatory.