The four regions involved in the REFORM project have signed a political declaration with the European Commission, summarising the main recommendations of the project for strengthening the role of regions in sustainable urban mobility planning. At a conference in Brussels on 4 December, the REFORM project co-ordinator, Maria Morfoulaki, presented the recommendations, which relate to responsibilities to be assigned to regional authorities, as well as actions for regional authorities to undertake.
Responsibilities for regional governments
In terms of responsibilities, REFORM recommends that the role of regional governments in SUMP development needs to be reinforced through co-ordination and networking activities, and by establishing consistent communications channels with local governments, stakeholders and citizens.
Regional authorities, they argue, need to ensure that they have the human resources, know-how and tools to evaluate and provide guidance to local SUMPs to ensure their success, including the use of common performance indicators to guarantee effective monitoring, and ensuring that future activities are integrated into broader regional strategies. Additionally, the regional government must assist the administration to secure funding for SUMP development.
Actions for enchaining regional capacity
The REFORM partners recommend that national governments begin by consulting with regional and local authorities to clarify the roles of different governance levels in sustainable mobility planning, and run regular meetings with local officers, technicians and stakeholders for common planning and decision-making activities. Additional outreach efforts need to be made with end-users, to ensure that they buy into the process.
Regional authorities then need to play an active role in building regional capacity, particularly through the creation of Competence Centres that will provide support for SUMP development, including the creation of guidance and specifications, provision of training, and hosting a library of materials for consultation by those drafting SUMPs. These centres should also be able to collect, manage and analyse data from municipalities, and support frequent updating of SUMPs, in line with both regional planning priorities and Operational Programmes for European Structural and Investment Funds.
The REFORM project will integrate use its recommendations and good practices to draft four action plans for implementation in project regions after the project ends in December 2018.
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