On June, 7th 2018, the SUMPs-Up project organised a Mobility Practitioner Workshop on Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans at the Midlands Art Centre in Birmingham. The objectives were primarily three:
- showcasing the SUMPs-Up Civitas project
- looking at case studies
- sharing learning between similar projects in different areas around sustainable urban mobility and co-creation.
Our partners from the Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) participated and Ms. Parnell presented the case of Oxfordshire focusing on takeaways from Cities-4-People. Her presentation revolved around the way we have been co-creating with the community in Barton (Oxford), firstly to identify their mobility challenges, then to envision solutions to these challenges. The main challenge for Barton was defined as being the lack of direct connections between Barton and desirable destinations such as affordable supermarkets, rail station, hospitals, places of work, and other neighbourhoods: radial bus routes require transfers in order to get to destinations other than city centre, which increases journey time and cost. The case of the PickMeUp Demand-Responsive Transport (DRT) service as an ideal solution (convenient, affordable and timely) was made and used as a key example to explain how OCC has managed to find, engage and work with a local community.
Some other projects were also introduced, showing interlinkages with Cities-4-People and providing inspiration about tools to gather input from citizens. The Urban Living Birmingham Project, for example, engaged the younger generation by getting them to write rap lyrics about urban living. This helped identify some of the key challenges the younger generation were facing around transport when trying to find jobs. This, in turn, provided useful information to adjust the traditional, bottom-down approach to urban governance.
If you wonder how you can encourage end-user innovation in urban service provision, you may just have to look around or attend the next SUMPs-Up workshop: there are plenty of initiatives pursuing innovative and sustainable mobility, but you need to find a way to become aware of them.