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An interview with Transport for Greater Manchester, winner of the 7th SUMP Award

15 April 2019

Nicola Kane, Head of Strategic Planning and Research with Transport for Greater Manchester, spoke to us about winning the sustainable urban mobility planning (SUMP) Award, Manchester's 'bold vision' for sustainable transport, and the importance of working with diverse stakeholders.

What does winning the SUMP Award mean to the city?

Winning the SUMP award is a real honour and endorsement of the hard work that Transport for Greater Manchester and our district colleagues have put in to developing our new Greater Manchester Transport Strategy 2040. It demonstrates to our citizens and stakeholders that Greater Manchester is planning effectively for the future and that we are serious about improving transport in support of a greener, cleaner and more prosperous city-region. 

Can you tell us a little bit about the process of designing your SUMP? What was it, do you think, that appealed to the Jury?

The central theme of our SUMP is “integration”. Our strategy focuses on how we can deliver a truly seamless and sustainable transport system that works for all journeys.

Our strategy has not been developed around individual modes of transport, but more to support the wide range and types of journeys that people and goods need to make in the city region. This includes planning for very short neighbourhood trips to schools, shops and local activities; as well as travel to our towns and city centres, and to other towns and cities across the UK and beyond. I think it is this spatial, rather than modal, approach to planning that attracted the judges. 

We have also set out a bold vision for 50 percent of all trips to be made by sustainable modes by 2040 (from 40 percent today), which will be challenging in a city region that is experiencing rapid growth and is still very car-dominated in many parts of the urban area. This will mean providing for a million more sustainable journeys every day.

We are also embracing innovation, where it supports our wider economic, social and environmental goals. For example, exploring opportunities for shared connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) services and testing how Mobility as a Service (MaaS) can improve the customer experience.

What advice would you give to cities that are looking to follow in your footsteps and win the SUMP Award?

Demonstrate how you are working with stakeholders and communities to develop a strategy that really meets the needs of the end users, based on a clear and compelling vision of the future. 

Set ambitious goals for your SUMP and demonstrate how they can be achieved through a range of transport and non-transport interventions.

Learn from elsewhere – look at what other cities are doing around the world and “borrow” those elements which are working well, whilst thinking how they should be adapted to meet your local requirements and context. 

We are really delighted to have won this year’s SUMP Award, and it was well worth the time taken to make the awards submission.