The Thessaloniki strategic SUMP, the first SUMP in Greece (2011-2014) during a time of crisis, received the Special Prize of the Jury in the EC SUMP Awards 2014
Despite being in a deep economic recession, Thessaloniki Public Transport Authority (ThePTA) prioritised the development of a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) for the first time in Greece. Through involving all key stakeholders, ThePTA has been able to implement a SUMP for the metropolitan area focused on public transport and using limited financial resources. The Thessaloniki SUMP is now an example for other cities in Greece and other countries in south eastern Europe that face similar challenges.
ThePTA , a public body of the Metropolitan Area of Thessaloniki under the central government’s Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks had responsibility of public transport coordination in the metropolitan area consisting of 10 municipalities and over one million inhabitants.
In 2010 the economic and financial crisis led to the cancellation of all public spending, and the infrastructure plan proposed by the Ministry to replace the 10-year-old plan was not implemented. However, with issues like rising traffic congestion (Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece after the capital Athens), delays in the metro construction and the lack of co-ordinated mobility planning, action had to be taken. With funds from the EU South East Europe Transnational Cooperation Programme (SEE) , co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) by 85%, a strategic SUMP was developed according to the Eltis+ SUMP Guidelines, the first ever SUMP for a Greek city.
ThePTA had to produce its strategic SUMP with a limited budget of roughly € 125 000. This covered fees for consultants, experts, data collection, consultations with stakeholders and promotional materials, including a video clip production. ThePTA involved 2 transport planning staff as counterparts.
Evidence of success
Despite the economic crisis, ThePTA has succeeded in developing its Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP), the first SUMP ever Greece, which was formally adopted in Feb. 2014. Several measures in the SUMP are proceeding to implementation, such as smart and electronic ticketing, bus priorities, awareness campaigns, sea transport services and shared bikes.
The tremendous effort that has been made by the ThePTA SUMP has been rewarded by the 'Special Prize of the Jury' in the SUMP awards 2014.
The mobilisation and commitment of a wide range of stakeholders (including central government ministries, regional authorities, municipalities, trade unions, passenger and cycling associations, transport institutes and the university) and an emphasis on the better use of public transport were keys.
Potential for learning or transfer
ThePTA created this SUMP with limited resources by using the SUMP guidelines and actively involving stakeholders - making Thessaloniki the first city in Greece with a SUMP. Through evaluation and implementation process, enhancements and related opportunities for the next SUMP generation have been proposed.
Following the plan’s completion, ThePTA provided recommendations that can help other cities develop their SUMPs with innovations, such as:
- Inclusion of travel behaviour research and analyses, such as stated preference surveys and discrete mode choice modelling, particularly for new mobility measures and transport systems not familiar to citizens
- Integrated pricing and financing framework
- Addressing mobility needs of visitors in tourist destinations with low-carbon transport solutions
- Harmonising SUMP with SEAP and SECAP to 2030.
These recommendations are applicable to other cities and are included in the InnovaSUMP project involving 8 Municipalities in 8 EU MSs.
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