Alongside some of the awesome advances that technology has brought to our lives, it has caused significant negative consequences as well. Chief among them is the discovery that automobile emissions are a significant source of carbon emissions and particulate matter, which has been directly linked to the deterioration of public health. We know this for sure, there’s no doubt about this, the numbers have long been here. What is Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning then? To understand that, we take a fresh look at cities.
Cities, the “Urban” in Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning
Cities are drivers of economic growth, which is one reason why vast numbers of people move there. Intuitively, that inflow creates pressure on existing resources and infrastructure. The United Nations Population Fund estimates that in 2013, 74 percent of Europe’s population lived and worked in cities. Globally, a staggering 5 Billion people are expected to be living in cities by the year 2030. By 2050, 82 percent of Europeans are expected to live in urban areas. Looking at the tremendous wealth that is disproportionally generated in cities, (at least in Europe, they contribute up to 85 percent of EU’s Gross Domestic Product) a sustainable solution to anticipate or solve current problems is sought (source).
The increased pressure on infrastructure leads to traffic jams, inefficient transport usage, unpredictable travel times, public health issues, and not to mention, a decreased level of satisfaction in the public. It’s not hard to imagine why everybody hates traffic jams. These problems and others, tend to accelerate when combined with the rapid growth statistics of cities all over the world.
Enter “Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning“.
A “sustainable” way to address or minimise the rather unpleasant side-effects that come along with transportation, especially for “urban” regions (where the density of these problems is highest) is needed, especially one that includes a plethora of measures to ensure that existing resources are managed more effectively.
This activity isn’t always so much a completely new task, it’s more often the process of doing existing tasks, but with an eye for sustainability.
Plans that result from these efforts are simply called SUMPs. Government bodies have recognized this to be the best way to address some of the above-mentioned challenges, and have tasked mobility managers to operate under these guidelines and share as much knowledge as possible, so other cities can attempt to repeat these results.