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EU Urban Mobility Observatory
News article17 November 20212 min read

Lessons from Aachen’s SUMP approach

The city of Aachen recently hosted the CIVITAS Forum 2021, which took place on 20-21 October. It won the prestigious “Transformation Award” at the CIVITAS Awards 2021 after being recognised with the second place for CIVITAS Awards in 2016, 2018 and 2020.

In a recent publication CIVITAS recognises Aachen’s strong effort and commitment to urban mobility transformation and the efficiency of their SUMP approach. The publication synthetises how the city treats its SUMP as a cyclical process. The SUMP’s implementation is always ongoing and being assessed. It also defines 25 measurable quantitative and qualitative indicators that allows to monitor the progress.

The strategies are structured by six core sustainable mobility goals:

  • Short distances: The city aims to take full advantage of its dense medieval urban core that helps to guarantee short distances and encourage locals to make use of more sustainable modes of transportation (like walking, cycling or using public transport). In fact, Aachen aims to have these sustainable modes dominate all trips under 5km.
  • Road safety: Efforts to increase walking and cycling are accompanied by efforts to ensure their safety and reduce car traffic. Aachen aims to achieve zero deaths from road accidents.
  • Environmentally-friendly and social mobility: Comprehends reduction in air pollution and noise, and an increase in ‘social mobility’ options which foster senses of community and enable commuters to form social relationships.
  • Accessibility: Transport must be accessible to all overlooked groups, such as the elderly and people with disabilities.
  • Reliable and comfortable mobility services: Ensuring high quality infrastructure as well as punctual public transportation.
  • Efficient and affordable mobility: Ensuring that all people are able to freely commute in the city, regardless of their income level but also ensure that it is more economically efficient to use sustainable modes rather than the own car.

Julia Scholtes, Project Lead #AachenMooVe!, attributes much of the success to the fact that the city's various departments have really worked together around the common goal of reaching climate neutrality by 2030.

"We have managed to get really good integration between the Environmental and the Mobility Departments within the city administration, through our common goals of climate neutrality and environmentally-friendly traffic. This very good interaction between these two departments helps a lot in implementing all kinds of measures", said Scholtes.

Stefan Jücker, Planning, Mobility & Climate Councillor added during CIVITAS Forum that Aachen has had to learn to work not only between internal city departments, but even across national boundaries. 

"Mobility does not end at borders. Citizens don't want to be confined by politics, they just want to go", he stated.



Publication date
17 November 2021
  • Urban mobility planning
  • Germany