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EU Urban Mobility Observatory
News article25 April 2016

3rd European Conference on Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans

On 12-13 April 2016, over 400 participants from the fields of transport planning and development, research and politics gathered in Bremen for the 3rd Conference on Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans to discuss new planning approaches and strategies, and to share ideas, solutions and success stories. 

The main theme of the conference ‘Planning the efficient city’, was addressed by around 70 speakers in 16 interactive sessions centred around the following four key topics: ‘The big picture’ – investigating the interface between mobility planning, land use planning and urban design; ‘New horizons’ – anticipating future challenges and opportunities for planners relating to the sharing economy, multicultural societies and automated transport; ‘The integration challenge’ investigated key areas for integrated planning including health, energy and city resilience; and the ‘Planning techniques’ sessions showcased tools and approaches for measure selection, walking and cycling planning, evaluation, civic participation and more.

As the SUMP Award 2014 winner and a city with one of the lowest congestion rates in Europe, Bremen offered the perfect location to explore the conference theme. Attendees were able to experience first-hand a city where SUMP processes are at the heart of decision-making, by participating in one of the eleven conference excursions.

Please find more information about the program in the Agenda.

Highlights and conclusions

  • Keynote speakers included Matej Zakonjšek, Head of Cabinet for Commissioner Bulc, European Commission; Niels Hartwig, Head of Division, German Ministry for Transport and Digital Infrastructure; and Anneli Hulthén, Former Mayor and Chairman of the City Executive, City of Gothenburg.

  • Senator Joachim Lohse and Gunnar Polzin, Head of the Transport Department at the City of Bremen, gave insights on the political and technical processes involved in SUMP development and implementation (the presentation by Gunnar Polzin is available for download).

  • A “Bremen Declaration on sustainable urban mobility planning” was presented for discussion at a specially convened Mayors’ Meeting, including political representatives from as far away as Portugal, Lithuania and Romania.  See below for more information on how you can comment on the Bremen Declaration.

  • The interactive closing plenary involved all conference participants in discussions on the topic “How can we accelerate the take-up of the SUMP Concept in Europe?”, which also involved a specially convened European Commission’s Roundtable for visiting political representatives. During the closing plenary Senator Lohse concluded with the following inspiring learning points for city leaders across Europe:



…develop the 100% perfect project that cannot possibly be improved by anybody else’s ideas!

…tell your council or parliament that, without any alternative, they must give you 50 million Euros to finance it!

…engage people, instead of listening to what they want, by rather explaining to them in every detail how brilliant your project is!



…look around who your critics are, and if they are relevant, then take them on board and give them a role!

…remind everybody of their multiple mobility needs: a car driver is a pedestrian immediately after he leaves his car; he may have children or elderly parents who also want to move around safely; and each person on a bicycle or tram means one car less in front of you in the morning congestion!

…agree on overall targets before going into detail – and if your project does not deliver against the requirements, improve it or forget it!


Stay involved!

Join the online consultation on the Bremen Declaration on Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning in Europe!

The closing plenary panel discussion chaired by Daniela Roșca (Head of Unit, European Commission DG MOVE), was followed by the public release of the Bremen Declaration on Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning in Europe. The purpose of the declaration is to place the European sustainable urban mobility planning guidelines firmly in the context of the reality of European cities. Among the key points for discussion are: the statement “Put people ahead of vehicles!” and the view that cities should be “wise” rather aiming only to be “smart”.

The Declaration is now open to endorsements and comments, including by those who were not part of the SUMP Conference, until 20 May 2016. Click here for a downloadable PDF version of the Bremen Declaration and to comment online.  

Demonstrate your mobility planning skills using the Mobility Scenario online game -  All conference participants were invited to participate in the Mobility Scenario online game, specially adapted from the public participation tool used during the development of the Bremen SUMP.

The online game remains available for everyone to use, so you can experiment with how such a tool could facilitate public participation in your own SUMP development processes. 


“A truly useful conference is about to close - a New Mobility Culture Era is rising” tweeted Anneli Hulthén, former Mayor of Gothenburg and one of the keynote speakers at the conference. Check out more inspiring conference tweets at #SUMPconference to add your feedback and learning messages.

Resources from the conference


The full set of presentations is now available for download.

The conference in pictures:

Visual impressions can be found in the Eltis photo gallery (© Wolfgang Loock and Eduardo Cinta) and 360º panoramic images (© ​Willy Kaemena). Moreover, we encourage you to share your own impressions using Dropbox. We provide photos, images and logos for press purposes. The copies are free of charge to use with attribution of copyright. The conference organisation team has obtained permission from the photographers for the use of their photos.

Past events

The European Conference on Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans is the principal annual event for all those involved in turning the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan concept into practice. You can find out more about the past SUMP Conferences in Bucharest (2015) and Sopot (2014) by checking the Eltis events pages.

Find out more about other sustainable mobility events that took place at times directly before and after the 3rd European Conference on SUMPs:

  • CIVITAS Training on Inclusive Mobility, Monday 11 April 13:00h-17:30h. Learn from the experts: Arzu Tekir (WRI Ross Institute for Sustainable Cities) and Els Vandenbroeck (Mobiel 21)
  • The SWITCH Final Conference: Embracing Active Travel for Health,  14 April 2016, Bremen
  • The launch of the European Urban Transport Roadmap 2030 tool
  • The SOLUTIONS final conference,14-15 April 2016 in Berlin
  • National Kick-Off of Germany's European Mobility Week (EMW), 14-15 April 2016 in Berlin. Every year more than 2000 local governments from across Europe participate in the EMW from 16-22 September. To register visit the EMW webpage.

Stay informed

For regular updates on upcoming SUMP conferences follow Eltis.

Should you have any enquiries related to the 3rd SUMP Conference, then please contact the SUMP conference secretariat at SUMPConferenceatrupprecht-consult [dot] eu (SUMPConference[at]rupprecht-consult[dot]eu)  


Publication date
25 April 2016
Urban mobility planning