Urenio Watch Watch: Cities

EU Publication_Towards a common European framework for sustainable urban mobility indicators

In order to overcome existing barriers and accelerate the uptake of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs) Europe-wide, the European Commission is exploring the idea of developing a common EU-framework for Sustainable Urban Mobility Indicators (SUMI). This publication is analysing the areas that need improvement and the link of SUMP process with the green deal, as well as the ways that data gathering should be approached in cities of different sizes. It is proposing ways to move forward through funding distribution and the EU Urban Mobility Scoreboard. The discussions of the 7th Florence Intermodal Forum are basis for this analysis.

The 7th Florence Intermodal Forum brought together key stakeholders for a discussion on the definition and appropriate indicator parameters; data collection techniques and data standardisation, as well as the question of enhancing the enforcement of SUMPs. The forum drew on the lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic in relation to urban mobility as far as SUMI are concerned.

According to the authors, the implementation of SUMPs has been voluntary and remains limited to a small proportion of European cities. They additionally underline that where plans have been developed have often failed to fulfil minimum quality standards.

The SUMI project, funded by the EU, was set up with the objective of providing technical assistance on the development of SUMI. The indicator set, originally developed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), has formed the basis of the work of the SUMI consortium, which has reviewed and subsequently tailored it to the European context. The aim was to develop an indicator set for EU cities, in line with standardised EU data formats and data sets available at EU level, and taking also into account EU policies and targets. The indicator set, sub-divided into core and non-core indicators, covers all major policy areas. A benchmarking tool was also developed as part of the project.  The need for further revision was particularly evident for indicators associated with data collection problems.

The need for a more nuanced approach to conditionality, appeared to resonate among the participants of the forum. While SUMPs and SUMI need to be streamlined into EU funding and financing programmes, the further elaboration of SUMPs should not be constrained by bureaucratic rules.  The participants were in agreement that a flexible bottom-up approach needs to be combined with a well-defined top-down framework. In this regard, a common and clear definition needs to be agreed upon regarding the geographical area over which data is to be collected. Another takeaway from the discussions was the need for stability through the adoption of a long-term perspective, both when it comes to the legal framework and the evaluation of projects. Technical and advisory assistance should be granted to both small and larger cities, so as to address existing data collection challenges linked to financial and human resources among others.

You can find the publication  here.