Accelerating SUMPs: Key Factors Driving Implementation Success

Written by Milnael GOMEZ

Transitioning from the formulation to the implementation phase of a SUMP marks a significant shift, presenting cities with a substantial challenge. The critical imperative is to swiftly translate plans into action post-adoption. Early interventions ignite momentum and demonstrate the tangible benefits of embracing sustainable mobility. So, what are the catalysts driving successful implementation?

In a recent study conducted by MobiliseYourCity, focusing on the latest Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs) in Antofagasta, Abbottabad, Bouaké, and Dakar—adopted in 2023 and commencing implementation in early 2024—several key accelerator enhancers have been identified. These factors have played a pivotal role in expediting the initiation of SUMP implementation across these diverse regions.

Antofagasta, Chile, exemplifies the efficacy of certain accelerators, including:
1.    International Community Involvement: Leveraging platforms such as Euroclima facilitated robust engagement with the global community, fostering support and collaboration.
2.    Community and Political Participation: With over 60 community representatives actively involved in the planning process, alongside Municipal Council engagement, Antofagasta ensured broad-based support for its initiatives.
3.    Funding Availability and Political Commitment: Support from entities like the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) enabled the realisation of projects aligned with Chile's Low Emissions Transport Strategy (CLETS), underscored by strong political backing from regional authorities.

In Dakar, Senegal, the following enhancers propelled the early stages of implementation:
1.    Financial Support for Innovative Projects: Access to funding facilitated Sub-Saharan Africa's first fully electric Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, marking a significant step towards sustainable urban mobility.
2.    Private Sector Engagement: Collaborative efforts involving private enterprises, such as transitioning 200 taxis to electric vehicles, underscored the importance of public-private partnerships in driving sustainable transport solutions.
3.    Community and Political Involvement: The active participation of the Council for Sustainable Urban Transport (CETUD) emphasised the role of grassroots engagement in shaping inclusive mobility strategies.

In Abbottabad and Bouaké, a common thread emerged:
1.    Strong Political Commitment and Community Engagement: Both cities demonstrated a steadfast commitment at national and local levels, fostering an environment conducive to collaboration and consensus-building.

In essence, the success of MobiliseYourCity SUMPs adopted in 2023 and initiated in 2024 can be attributed to three key factors:
1.    Government Commitment: Political will at both national and local levels is essential for implementing sustainable mobility initiatives.
2.    Financial and Policy Support: Access to funding and supportive policies is critical for kickstarting SUMP projects and ensuring their sustainability.
3.    Private Sector Participation: Engaging private stakeholders brings additional resources to the table and fosters innovation and efficiency in urban mobility solutions.

By harnessing these accelerator enhancers, cities worldwide can prepare for a more sustainable and inclusive urban future.