Citizen and stakeholder participation a crucial part of the SUMP process in Tartu

The city of Tartu prepared a sustainable urban mobility plan (SUMP) as a part of the Bustrip project. During the preparation process, Tartu carried our stakeholder cooperation seminars and working groups. The city already had two existing transport related working groups. “We had an easy start, something to base our work on. In SUMP, our job was to expand these groups and generate a new cooperation model”, Marek Muiste, International Project Coordinator, tells.

Stakeholders include NGOs and private enterprises, and the seminars were open to the general public. The participation of stakeholders has given the process real added value. The baseline review and SWOT analysis for the SUMP were also carried out with the help of stakeholder groups, as it was the case with the peer review report. “In SUMP, the stakeholders have in fact had very much power”, Muiste says.

Addressing the stakeholder groups needs careful planning. The more challenging part is changing the overall behaviour of the citizens: their participation is also a crucial element. Unawareness and ignorance can create an increasing number of cars. “And the bigger the car the better! These are the kind of attitudes we need to battle against.”

It is important to be clear on why the city should involve stakeholders. In Tartu, it has not been only about getting more support on the issue, but also building visions and setting targets. “Participation creates pressure on politicians. Issues related to the quality of life or health don’t always seem to be important for decision-makers.”

During the SUMP process, the city of Tartu has also been discussing overall sustainability and knowledge campaigns. It is worthwhile being optimistic, since raising the overall awareness is about expanding the knowledge from core stakeholder groups to the general public.

During the planning process, the stakeholders in Tartu had good access to relevant information and the planning team and the stakeholders become more aware of sustainable transport.


Photo: City of Tartu/BUSTRIP project