SUMP National Training event gets Hungarian cities engaged in sustainable transportation planning,

From 04-07 June the city of Szeged had the honour to host the SUMP National Training for Hungarian cities in the CIVITAS PROSPERITY project. The participants had the possibility to feel the mentality of sustainable mobility planning, long run achievements and could ask their questions directly to the lecturers from such countries, where this kind of thinking had been influencing city transportation development for a longer time.

The first day started with an informal networking that gave a good opportunity for the colleagues to introduce themselves to each other. However some active members of the events of the Hungarian CIVINET Network already knew each other.

On behalf of the host city, Dr. Miklós Oláh welcomed the participants. The colleagues of Mobilissimus were hosting the programme, so they introduced the importance of the topic. Mr. András Ekés, the managing director of Mobilissimus, touched shortly almost all topics to come. He gave a quick view about the experiences and the main dilemmas regarding SUMPs, the approach of the cities to the topic. He formulated the main messages mainly for cities but also for all stakeholders. The main barriers were also showed up and the communication and social involvement aspects were also touched, however András would go into details in the separate session fully dedicated to communication matters. He introduced the SUMP life cycle and the common mistakes as well.

Mr. Gábor Sztanics, on behalf of the Managing Authority, gave information about the relevant EU and National Government co-funded calls, from which the preparation of SUMPs can be financed in Hungary. He showed the inner and outer drivers to prepare a SUMP. He also showed up the main insufficiencies of the prepared SUMPs in the eye of the Managing Authority.

Also in the opening session Mr. László Dulicz, managing director of Mikroline, presented what SUMP is: the existing policies, concepts and strategies of the settlements should be reconsidered in the aspect of sustainability. He told us about the stakeholders, the social involvement and the public participation, functional city region, the evaluation of the existing transportation supply and the complex evaluation of the effects of the developments. We touched the workplace mobility plans and he emphasised that a SUMP should be upgraded again and again.

After this there was a city walking tour lasting about 1.5 hours in the downtown of Szeged. Our tourist guide – who was also hosting the event - Mr. Antal Polgár told the group a lot about the history of the city.

From the second day on it was the foreign lecturers’ turn. In the morning Ms. Eglantina Dani held her lecture about the Use of ‘Urban Transport Roadmaps’ tool in SUMPs. She introduced us the project shortly, then she told the audience about the tool’s and the SUMP planning cycle’s matching points, the workout and evaluation of scenarios and illustrated this with definite urban examples. The aims and structure of the tool, the roadmap workout steps, the online presentation of the use of the software were on schedule. At the end the participants had the opportunity to try and experience the tool in small groups.

Afterwards, it was Mr. András Ekés’ turn to speak about communication and stakeholder involvement. Since Szeged had had its first coaching session in this topic presented also by Mr. Ekés, there were some elements, with which Szeged was already familiar with. He told the audience about the following topics: the main questions and motives of communication,  the language, the reality of communication, the target groups. It should be highlighted that Mr. Ekés always shows everyday examples from real life and we can discuss interactively, why they are good or bad. This time it was the same with information sheets of the Budapest Transport Privately Held Corporation.

Mr. Ekés told us about the communication for the residents, about the open problem discover survey, the communication of surveys and counts, showing also good and not that good practices. Thematic questionnaires, resident forums, the role of the media, the problem collecting on map, the site visit of troubled areas and common thinking on solutions, work groups, professional forums, and the communication towards the decisionmakers, the NGOs, other stakeholders and towards the customer were also discussed.

The next topic was the communication regarding the vision, goals and measures of the SUMP We discussed the dilemmas of shaping future vision, forming common vision, city leader’s vision, residents’ involvement, validating the vision and the objective system. Who are the target groups, what are the goals, decisionmakers’ communication, communication with professional partners, the professional background for choosing measures, communication towards residents like budget allocation or project market games, representative public survey or scenario development application or letting the people decide what colours the tram will have.

There was also a session about the tool kit of the constant communication. These are the communication of the implementation, the maintenance problems, monitoring & evaluation, raising awareness and systematic communication. This session was full of examples from different countries.

The third day began with an introduction round, after which Dr. Wulf-Holger Arndt from the CIVITAS PROSPERITY partner DIfU held a presentation about the definition and trends of city logistics and the understanding of the urban problems of freight. He spoke about the volume of commercial motivated urban transport, the background and trends of the urban freight transport (UFT) and its environmental impacts, new production concepts, e-commerce, the expansion of online commerce combined with transportation, which causes the growth of the ratio of no-load runs. Dr. Arndt talked about the emissions (CO2, NOx, solid particles and diesel exhaust gas, noise). He emphasised that the infrastructural damage costs might be forgotten costs.

In the third part the urban freight solution was presented. We had an overview about the measure activity fields of the municipalities like low emission vehicles, loading zones, cooperation among the recipients and among the transporters, territorial concessions, etc., which are generally low-cost solutions.

The participants had some interactive group work as well: the colleagues collected the main problems of their home cities and these were categorized. They were intended to be discussed, but we could not discuss them because of the lack of time.

Afterwards, we had the presentation of the champion city, Dundee by Mr. Ewan Gourlay on behalf of the City Council. After shortly introducing and positioning his city, Mr. Gourlay showed us the levels of transportation policies on national (NTS), regional (RTS), local (LTS) and transportation company levels. He made the participants familiar with the aims and measures in Dundee’s SUMP and showed them examples for Dundee’s LTS projects, like strengthening trust in PT services, smartbus, central waterfront development, partnership for optimisation of buses’ punctuality. He spoke about speed limits (locally 48 km/h in general, buti n Edinburgh 32 km/h). The audience got some impressions about the city’s sustainable urban logistics plan (SULP) – overview, goals, short run, middle term and the long run objectives and monitoring. The last part was about stakeholder involvement: overview, phases, RTS, SULP, the Tay Cities Deal.

After the presentation we made our planned site visit. Dr. Oláh showed the bicycles lanes in the downtown, the bicycle racks, the speed limit zones, the boulevard like wide pavement of the inner ring covered by klinker bricks and the bus/tram lane also on the inner ring. We visited the Dugonics square, which was reconstructed as a pedestrian-cycling area. We walked through the Somogyi Street, which is also partly (that means on the weekends) closed for individual motorized traffic. In front of the Art Hotel we hit the bus provided by the city’s transportation company, so we had the possibility to see the remote locations of the city. We watched tram lane sections built in grass, the huge turbo type roundabout, covered B+R facilities, third ring of the city with bicycle lanes on both sides, new PT stops, etc.

On the last day of the conference we had the pleasure to attend the interactive presentation of Prof. Tom Rye from Edinburgh Napier University regarding the monitoring & evaluation (M&E) of SUMPs. After a short introduction round Prof. Rye spoke about the necessity of monitoring, its position in the SUMP process cycle, what are the key requirements of M&E.

He cleared why there is a need for aims in SUMPs, what are the types (capacity type and result type), the definition and the measuring of the aims. We saw some examples for both types of aims. We talked about common problems like ’we don’t know what to do with the measures’ or ’we don’t have any data’. We were also presented some examples for indicators from other cities’s SUMPs (Edinburgh LTS, Ljutomer, Gdynia, Nottingham, York) and we talked about the communication of the progress for the public.

We also had the possibility to work in groups and to choose aims, and also indicators and measures to them to make clear the relationship between them.

Finally Prof. Rye summarized the key messages of the M&E topic like striving for simplicity, have a reasonable number of aims but not being afraid of having objective data only partly and of the complexity of data collecting.

We think it was a very useful training for those colleagues, who had the possibility and took the chance to participate. The participants had the possibility to feel the mentality of sustainable mobility planning, long run achievements and could ask their questions directly to the lecturers from such countries, where this kind of thinking had been influencing city transportation development for a longer time.

On national level it was also a good opportunity to keep in touch with colleagues who are already active in the national CIVINET network (Magyar CIVINET) and to widen the club of committed colleagues responsible for city development and transportation matters, possibly also as newcomers in the national CIVINET network or participants on its events.

Szeged was very proud to organize the event and we also had the possibility to show not only our city’s achievements on site on the site visit tour, but also to give some impressions about the city’s tourism and gastronomy.

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