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SUMPs: driving sustainable mobility in Italian cities

11.6.2020
SUMPs: driving sustainable mobility in Italian cities

Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs) aim to shape the future of Italian urban mobility, taking into account both the requirements of all the stakeholders involved and the local peculiarities.

Planning mobility in Italian cities, and above all doing it in a sustainable way, is not an easy task. That’s why three years ago a ministerial decree, issued on 4 August 2017 by the Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, set out the guidelines for Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans. The goal was to work on developing mobility in an efficient and coordinated way.

Every SUMP is a bespoke strategic plan designed to satisfy the needs of each individual city. Based on the existing planning tools, it takes into account the principles of integration, participation and assessment in order to meet the mobility requirements of people and goods. The ultimate aim is to improve the quality of living standards in cities and their surroundings, making people the priority through environmental sustainability and social equality.

Macro objectives

The measures set out in a SUMP concern all forms of transport – public and private – that feature throughout an entire urban area. The plans consider both passengers and goods, ensuring everyone has access to mobility while avoiding to the greatest possible extent any repercussions from pollution, traffic congestion and accidents.

Each SUMP features macro objectives, which are then defined in detail based on the specific circumstances of the individual municipality. Objectives include: the reduction of polluting emissions due to the circulation of vehicles; the creation and extension of limited traffic zones based on vehicles’ environmental rating; rules on traffic circulation, entrance and parking with incentives for commercial electric vehicles; the gradual transition towards electric vehicle fleets for municipal transport; the availability of shared vehicles powered by electricity; and increasing public and private electric charging points.

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A network of municipalities

The main resource for those addressing or managing the issue of urban mobility from a strategic sustainability perspective is the SUMPs Observatory. Focusing on Italian cities, the Observatory grew out of the European Endurance network, which aims to maintain an active dialogue across countries.

The Observatory was established in 2016 thanks to the support of the Italian Ministry of the Environment and connects the country’s municipalities, unions of municipalities, provinces and metropolitan cities engaged in sustainable urban mobility planning. In so doing, it boosts access to information and services as well as strengthening the network of cities actively involved in sustainable mobility.

Following the decree of 4 August 2017, it is compulsory for all Italian metropolitan cities and those with more than 100,000 inhabitants to define a SUMP. It is also recommended for all of the areas not meeting these criteria.

The situation in Italy

Over the course of its creation and adoption, a SUMP passes through three different stages: where the process for a SUMP has officially begun, it is considered to be in a “draft” phase, it is then “adopted” via municipal resolutions and undergoes scrutiny and possible revision from citizens and stakeholders. Finally, once the process has reached its conclusion, a SUMP is “approved” and comes into force.

According to figures from the SUMPs Observatory (as of February 2020), there are currently 164 Italian cites that are discussing their SUMP. Of these, 36 have been approved, 35 adopted, and 93 are in the draft stage.

The Italian regions with the highest number of SUMPs are Puglia (34), Lombardy (18), Tuscany (16), Emilia-Romagna (15) and Sicily (14).

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Local public transport

In the context of sustainable planning, the importance of electric mobility is obvious – and that also applies to public transport. Italy’s national plan for updating fleets of local public transport vehicles was drawn up after taking precise environmentally sustainable criteria into account and can count on funding worth 2.2 billion Euro, specifically for the “sustainable” upgrading of its public transport vehicles.

The crisis caused by the Coronavirus pandemic could be turned into an extraordinary opportunity to relaunch the public transport sector afresh. The hope is that the direction of travel continues to be towards electric mobility.

SourceOsservatorio PUMS

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