Promoted by the European Commission in the White Paper on Transport (2011) and the Urban Mobility Package (2013), Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs) are one of the main tools available at EU level to tackle transport and mobility in urban and suburban areas.

A SUMP has as its central goal improving accessibility of urban areas and providing high-quality and sustainable mobility and transport to, through and within the urban area. It responds to the needs of the ‘functioning city’, a region which is connected by traffic flows, and its hinterland rather than a “classical” municipal administrative region[2]

SUMPs are strategic plans based upon a long-term vision, with the main goal to provide integrated solutions to transport and mobility needs of people and goods, guaranteeing technical, economic, environmental and social sustainability[3]

The pillars underpinning the process leading to a SUMP are[3]:

  1. building on existing practices and regulatory frameworks in Member States;
  2. defining a clear long-term vision, objectives, measurable targets and a suitable, regular monitoring and evaluation system ensuring quality of implementation and a cyclical approach;
  3. pledge for economic, technical, environmental, social sustainability;
  4. participatory approach involving stakeholders and population in decision making;
  5. vertical and horizontal integration to foster cooperation and coordination between different levels of government and different departments within a local authority;
  6. review of costs and benefits of transport, including an assessment of direct and indirect, internal and external cost.

A SUMP’s objectives include:

  1. Guaranteeing accessibility to all road users, with a focus on the so-called “vulnerable users”, namely pedestrians, cyclists, children, disabled persons, etc.;
  2. Fostering a balanced development of all transport modes, tackling public and private, motorized and non-motorized transport, intermodallity, urban logistics, mobility management and ITS systems;
  3. Reducing environmental impacts (primarily air and noise pollution) rationalizing efficiency and cost-effectiveness;
  4. Optimizing the use of urban areas leading to a cleaner urban environment and consequently more attractive cities and better quality of life for all citizens;
  5. Improving road safety and security.

Adopting a SUMP offers a local authority several opportunities, since it paves the way to a new culture for urban mobility based on a participatory approach, increases the liveability of urban spaces and consequently citizens’ quality of life, creates a favourable environment to attract investors and boost economic development and increases chances to access EU funds.

Two portals supported by the European Commission provide extensive information, reports, news and case studies for local authorities and transport and mobility experts to refer to:


The Eltis platform ( sump-concept) also offers a tool dedicated to self-assessment of any urban mobility plan to determine whether it meets all the criteria making it a SUMP, taking as main reference the guidelines ‘Developing and implementing a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan’, available online in the same section


2. COM(2013) 913 final ‘Together towards competitive and resource efficient urban mobility’

3. Source: Guidelines ‘Developing and implementing a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan’ European Common (2014)