Improving port cities planning capacities on sustainable mobility: The SUMPORT Project

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Mediterranean port cities have a strategic value for Europe as they connect Europe with Africa and Asia. However, the port-generated traffic needs to be better planned to unlock the full potential of these coastal areas while improving the quality of life of local communities. SUMPORT project aims at supporting port cities in improving their planning capacities on sustainable mobility.


(Rome, 13 September 2019) Mediterranean port cities have a strategic value for Europe as they connect Europe with Africa and Asia. However, “port cities face common challenges and the aim of the SUMPORT project, as part of the Urban Transports Community, is to test sustainable transport solutions to improve this situation” explained Ms. Eleonora Tu, Project Manager at the Institute for Transport and Logistics (ITL) of the Emilia-Romagna region and communication manager of the project, in an interview with UNIMED, partner of the GOSUMP horizontal project.

Among the challenges that port cities face, it is worth mentioning climate change, lack of connections with the city center and the hinterland, congestion and air pollution, aggravated by port-originated traffic. Facing such similar threats, SUMPORT partners seek to increase the planning capacities on sustainable mobility of port cities through sharing of experiences, pilot actions and training activities.

The SUMPORT partnership

The activities of the SUMPORT project

“The activities we carried out within the SUMPORT project are diverse: we test pilot actions that could be scaled up, we make simulations, we elaborate and update Sustainable Mobility Plans, but also improve planning capacities through training” explained Ms. Tu.

  • Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs)

The SUMPORT project supports not just the update and harmonization of existing SUMPs such as the one of the port of Valencia (Spain) and Thesprotia Regional Unit (Greece), but also the creation of new ones, such as the one in Durrës, which will be the first one in Albania. These SUMPs focus on improving mobility and accessibility in urban areas, satisfying the mobility needs of citizens and tourists, while improving their quality of life and protecting the environment.

  • Bikes lanes

Bike lanes in Limassol, Durres and Kotor have been created. Their implementation has been diverse for each destinations. In Limassol, for example, bike lanes were built to connect the waterfront and the bus stations, completing the bicycle lane network along the seaside and providing a secure connection of the port with the whole city by bike. “Durres, on the other hand, focused on short paths of bike lanes due to the danger coming from the motorway, and extended the bicycle lane network to reduce car usage” compared Ms. Tu. She highlighted the fact that dangerous points on bike lanes prevent people from regular bike usage, and so this pilot is ensuring sustainability as well as a safe means of transportation for the users.

  • Bike sharing and Car pooling

Within the updated SUMP mentioned above in the Port of Valencia, a number of other pilot actions and activities are being developed in its port.

Among those have been developed a system of e-bike sharing, available to both workers and cruise passengers, in a view of providing more “environment-friendly” mobility options. “The problem remains the target of such pilot action” highlighted Ms. Tu, “who, being cruise tourists, are not fully aware of the existence of such systems, in comparison with the organized tours provided by the cruise”.

Carpooling is another option tested by SUMPORT in Valencia. “There are more than 6 500 people working in the port” indicated Ms. Tu. This is the reason why the Port is developing a mobile app for carpooling and a study to support its implementation. The app is currently in a testing phase and will allow port workers to share their personal cars on their way to work in order to reduce the number of vehicles, diminish CO2 emissions and improve both the conditions of the port facilities and the health of those evolving in this environment.

  • … And many more pilots

Other pilots were developed. To mention some, a pilot on logistics in Valencia, a feasibility study to insert taxi boat in the city of Limassol, smart mobility implementation in the city of Koper to monitor traffic and put infographics on whether parking lots are available...

  • SUMPORT training courses

Training courses on the elaboration of SUMPs have also been delivered throughout the project’s lifespan in the different partners cities. They aimed at conveying the knowledge of a SUMP planning cycle while exchanging experiences and best practices.

  • SUMPORT e-learning platform

Ms. Tu concluded by saying that they are, within the framework of the SUMPORT project, “developing an e-learning platform, which will contain the content of the SUMPORT project and also some inputs from other modular projects of the Urban Transports Community, which has a very important role in our activities”. She highlighted that this platform would allow to gather the good and best practices from numerous projects, in parallel of the Handbook of sustainable Mobility to which SUMPORT also contributed.