One of the smallest municipalities with urban area in Slovenia, the town of Ljutomer has 3.300 inhabitants and the municipality 11.400. Despite a predominantly car-oriented society the town has a good potential for developing sustainable mobility. It is situated on a mostly flat terrain and can be crossed on foot from one end to the other in less than an hour. There is also a good proportion of green spaces and several existing paths dedicated to pedestrians and cyclists. The SUMP addresses and builds on these potentials while its implementation has put sustainable mobility on municipality’s daily agenda.
Preparation of Ljutomer’s first SUMP was supported by national and international experts which brought to municipality a holistic approach to transport planning and initiated several long-lasting activities. Most important among those are municipality’s constant participation in EU projects on sustainable mobility since then and an active local support group consisting of around 10 key stakeholders. The experts involved in the SUMP preparation process report that small size was in this case beneficial since innovative transport planning approach was adopted and communicated more easily while implementation of several measures faced fewer barriers than in bigger cities. Also, the mayor of Ljutomer confirms that SUMP's existence, together with its clear action plan and other supporting documents that were developed as its result, is a major driver for implementation of sustainable mobility measures in Ljutomer. Without it the focus would still be on traditional transport planning and measures.
Ljutomer implemented several successful measures that have been already promoted among national and international experts and municipalities, also within the CIVITAS PROSPERITY project. The most well-known best practice is Juršovka – the first comprehensively redesigned and traffic-calmed neighbourhood in Slovenia. Others include significant improvement of two routes to school (to primary and secondary school), construction of a separated cycling lane to a nearby town and two detailed planning documents (for cycling infrastructure within the municipality and for traffic system in Ljutomer town). There are also several measures that are currently in the process of implementation. Ljutomer will in a few years’ time have four more traffic-calmed neighbourhoods, a separated and elevated cycling lane all along the main road through the town and a safe route to school for an enlarged primary school with kindergarten in smaller town Cezanjevci to name only a few. Together with promotional and educational activities this will definitely improve town’s modal split which is currently still strongly in favour of cars (82 percent) as is the case in majority of towns and cities in Slovenia.
During the recent SUMP training event for Slovenian and Croatian cities within CIVITAS PROSPERITY Ljutomer was again promoted and recognized as a role model for cities of similar size. The municipality is proud of its achievements, aims at staying the forerunner small municipality in the field of sustainable mobility in Slovenia and is keen on sharing and exchanging experience with other cities in the region.