Building Bridges, Greening Cities

Building Bridges, Greening Cities

Project SUMP Turkey is designed to enable and promote the uptake and implementation of the SUMP concept in Turkish cities. It fosters continuous Policy Dialogue among Turkish stakeholders and EU counterparts. The forthcoming White Policy Paper (2030-2050) will address current and future issues, offering recommendations aligned with national and EU strategies.

From a conversation with Wolfgang Backhaus and Nazan Koçak, elaborated by Marko Stančec.

In a bid to foster the implementation of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMP) across Turkish cities, Project SUMP Türkiye takes the stage. This ambitious initiative aims to support Policy Dialogue and capacity building at both local and national levels, paving the way for a more sustainable urban mobility landscape. As part of its comprehensive approach, the project actively promotes European Mobility Week (EMW) and its associated activities throughout Türkiye.

Wolfgang Backhaus, Managing Director and Team Leader of the SUMP Türkiye Project, Rupprecht Consult

With Turkish municipalities emerging as vital economic hubs brimming with dynamism, urban mobility challenges and solutions have taken centre stage in public discourse and local policies. 'Recognising the critical support required by planners and policymakers, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, in collaboration with the European Commission, is co-funding the nationwide SUMP Türkiye program,' says Wolfgang Backhaus, Managing Director at Rupprecht Consult and Team Leader of the SUMP Türkiye project.

'At its core, SUMP Türkiye represents a transformative shift from individual transport to sustainable, accessible, and inclusive modes of urban mobility;' continues Backhaus, 'by providing a robust support mechanism, the project empowers governance at all levels to enhance their capacities in embracing sustainable urban mobility within their policies. It is a testament to our collective commitment to driving structural change and championing the widespread adoption of sustainable urban mobility practices in Türkiye.'


Shaping Sustainable Cities: EU-Türkiye Policy Dialogue on Urban Mobility

In Türkiye, the pursuit of sustainable urban mobility is a collective endeavour that involves numerous stakeholders operating at national, regional, and local levels. These dedicated individuals and organizations play integral roles in the planning, implementation, and maintenance of urban transport systems across cities in the country.

For several years now, the government of Türkiye has taken proactive steps to promote sustainable urban mobility and positively impact the quality of life in Turkish cities and regions. Through various programs and activities, Türkiye has demonstrated its commitment to fostering more livable, accessible, inclusive, and environmentally friendly urban environments.

To support the promotion of sustainable urban mobility and knowledge transfer,  SUMP Türkiye has established a permanent Policy Dialogue between Turkish stakeholders and European counterparts. Moreover, the establishment of Policy Dialogue has been supported by urban mobility situation analysis.

Nazan Koçak, Transport Planner and Team Leader of the SUMP Türkiye Project, SUMP Türkiye

In particular, to ensure that permanent Policy Dialogue fosters mutually beneficial cooperation between Turkish and European stakeholders, the SUMP Türkiye Taskforce has been established so that it may provide a platform for peer-to-peer exchange on sustainable urban mobility planning with major European stakeholders, including networks of cities, EU institutions, and expert groups dealing with SUMP, as well as enable synergies and cooperation to access European funding opportunities and Research & Innovation projects.

Additionally, to ensure knowledge transfer of best practices from the EU, a portfolio of examples of different European regions and case studies will be shared with the Union of Turkish Municipalities, which gathers almost 1,400 municipalities.

Four principal meeting formats will be used for the Policy Dialogue:

1. Study visit

2. Focus group

3. Peer-to-peer review

4. Transferability analysis

The Policy Dialogue work plan is established and updated on an annual basis and will include thematic coverage following the new EU Urban Mobility Framework.

Thematic coverage: Urban Mobility Framework Building Blocks. Credit: Rupprecht Consult.

Development of the White Policy Paper on Sustainable Urban Mobility (2030 – 2050)

The White Policy Paper aims to establish the national-level policy approach necessary for successfully adopting and implementing the Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning (SUMP) concept in Turkish cities.

It will outline the medium and long-term strategies required to achieve this goal, providing a comprehensive framework for sustainable urban mobility initiatives in the country.

Specifically, the White Policy Paper will sketch the actions to be taken toward the 2030- and 2050-time horizons. It will set forth the following main items:

1. Current issues about sustainable urban mobility in Türkiye

2. Possible future issues

3. Outline of targets set by national and EU strategies (including the European 'Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy'

4. Exploration and recommendations of steps to be taken to reach these targets

5. Recommendations for a legislative package to mitigate any obstacles to the harmonization of Turkish and EU legislation (to be recommended by the UMT to the Turkish ministry)

6. Proposals for concrete actions to be taken at the national level, including an integral Action Plan in line with the EU mobility strategy

In a logical sequence, the White Policy Paper will build upon the situation analysis in the Green Policy Paper and continuous Policy Dialogue.

Per the situation analysis and Green Policy Paper, the present situation in Turkish cities will be described through the lens of the following five pillars. They will also be reflected in the White Paper:

Five key pillars for the Green Policy and White Policy Papers. Credit: Rupprecht Consult.

As Wolfang Backhaus concludes, 'The concept of SUMP has been embraced by the European institutions and placed at the forefront of their broader policy framework, aimed at achieving targets related to transport, health, social policy, and climate action in cities and regions. As a candidate for EU membership, Turkiye is following in the EU's footsteps by aligning its policies and practices with EU standards. It is a timely initiative for the SUMP Türkiye project to collaborate with cities and relevant government agencies, establish a permanent policy dialogue with EU counterparts, and produce a White Paper on sustainable urban mobility.'

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About the contributors:

Marko Stančec coordinates the Climate-Neutral Cities Taskforce, focused on the transport component of climate plans and just transition strategies. He has extensive experience in city networks and policy in mobility, sustainable urban mobility plans (SUMPs), management of urban space, and non-motorised traffic.

Wolfgang Backhaus is Managing Director of Rupprecht Consult and brings extensive experience in coordinating research projects and developing sustainable transport strategies. With a background in social science, he is also the President of trolley:motion, advocating for carbon-neutral public transport systems.

Dr. Nazan Koçak is a transport planner with over 30 years of sustainable urban transport-mobility planning and project management experience in local authority, consultancy and academia from Turkey, the UK, Sweden and Spain. Nazan is currently the team leader for the SUMP Türkiye – EU Support for Promoting Sustainable Urban Mobility in Turkish Cities project.