Birmingham’s status as a sustainable urban mobility superstar brings an EU project to town

For decades, cars dominated transport planning across Europe, including the United Kingdom (UK). This gave rise to congested, polluted cities where the public’s needs were not prioritised. Yet a recent planning approach is changing this: Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs).

SUMPs encourage a shift towards sustainable transport and the creation of people-centric spaces. This process brings with it many economic, social, and environmental benefits, leading to more liveable cities with a higher quality of life for inhabitants.

In recent years, many local authorities across the UK have adopted SUMPs. Birmingham was a forerunner in the area, introducing its SUMP “Birmingham Connected” in 2015. This serves as the basis for the raft of mobility and transport measures now changing the face of the city.

From 6-7 June 2018 Birmingham will host two days of workshops organised by the EU-funded sustainable mobility project CIVITAS SUMPs-Up, for which Birmingham is a city partner. These will enable local authorities to develop their SUMP-related knowledge and skills, with cities from across Europe set to attend. Alongside Birmingham, other UK cities will present their innovative sustainable urban mobility work.

David Harris, Transport Policy Manager from Birmingham City Council, commented on Birmingham’s status as a SUMP forerunner and SUMPs-Up city partner:

“Birmingham recognised the immense value of a SUMP and sustainable mobility early on, especially for the city’s regeneration. Through SUMPs-Up, we can share the expertise we have developed on a European level and support other cities in their SUMP development and implementation.”

Councillor Waseem Zaffar, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment at Birmingham City Council, is clear in how sustainable mobility is benefitting the city:

“Measures such as the new tram lines, cycle superhighways, bike hire scheme, and Bus Rapid Transit show our desire to open up the city and create a more livable, accessible, and healthy environment for all. Birmingham is blooming and sustainable mobility sits at the heart of why.”

Ana Drăguțescu, Project Coordinator for CIVITAS SUMPs-Up, remarked on the transition urban mobility planning is undergoing:

“There is a growing recognition that transport and urban planning must cease being car-focused and prioritise people. SUMPs do this, ensuring that transport contributes to cities’ efforts to become more sustainable and improve quality of life.”

With both sustainable mobility and SUMPs near the top of the European Union’s transport agenda, CIVITAS SUMPs-Up will help accelerate progress in these areas at just the right time.

To visit the SUMPs-Up website, go to http://www.sumps-up.eu/

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