SUMP Utrecht Metropolitan Region
The metropolitan region of Utrecht (cities of Utrecht and Amersfoort and outlying areas) is growing rapidly, causing huge housing challenges. This requires a different mobility system. Together with U-Ned (cooperation program of the State, Province of Utrecht and municipalities in the metropolitan region Utrecht) we therefore worked on a mobility strategy (SUMP).
The Utrecht metropolitan region is the central point of the national car and public transport networks of the Netherlands (national and regional flows converge on Utrechts roads and Utrecht Central Station is the most important national public transport station). The expected growth of the Utrecht metropolitan region (the region will grow with 144,000 to 165,000 new households and approximately 112,000 jobs by 2040) also leads to mobility growth.
Because of, among other things, landscape conservation and fragmentation, it is not desirable to facilitate unlimited mobility growth. At the same time, the national and regional governments are committed to 'healthy living in an urban region for everyone'. This means: accommodating most of the growth in mobility within the existing system as well as working on better quality of life.
Mobility Strategy 2040 (SUMP)
Together with APPM, Rebel and MUST urban design, we worked on this task. With a broad prosperity perspective, we identified six social goals that are most important in the entire strategy:
- Efficient use of scarce space: there is more space needed for climate-adaptive greenery, walking and residential and meeting space
- Healthy and sustainable living environment: including support for active mobility and increased safety
- Optimal use of the mobility system
- Securing the national public transport and car networks: convergence of national and regional car and public transport flows
- Social inclusion, everyone participates: mobility must contribute to development opportunities
- Vital and accessible economic: good accessibility for all transport modes
Based on four principles, we explored what is needed to keep the Utrecht Metropolitan Region accessible:
- Align urbanization choices and accessibility, focus on proximity: align mobility policy with spatial diversity throughout the region. A tool that can be used here is the classification on ABC mobility environments (center, residential, working and outdoor areas).
A. Better urban and regional walking and cycling networks: both for short and longer distances
B. System jump public transport with regional backbone as main carrier: use existing nodes as hubs and new light rail connection Merwedelijn/Binnenstadsas
C. Unbundling car-turntable and desiring car in urban area
- Slow down and spread the demand for mobility: by means of demand-influencing measures (such as parking policy, pay according to use).
- Smooth door-to-door chain travel with mobility hubs: important condition for all measures are mobility hubs that serve as a full and affordable alternative to private car use and parking in urban areas.
The result is a strategy that does not primarily focus on fighting traffic jams, but works towards a future-proof multimodal mobility system aimed at social goals.
This SUMP can be called innovative on several levels. Firstly, because of the process: it involved collaboration between different parties throughout the region. Secondly, because of the chosen strategy: focusing on influencing demand instead of expanding the mobility system to keep up with growing demand. Thirdly, it' s a project in which a broad prosperity perspective has been used from the beginning (rather than traditional traffic engineering). The Merwedekanaal zone is a good example of how the SUMP is put into practice.
In November 2022, the Mobility Strategy was formally adopted by the national government, the province of Utrecht and the cities Utrecht and Amersfoort. In doing so, they agreed to invest over 1.4 billion euros. A big step for the region to face the housing challenges.
We did this project in cooperation with APPM, Rebel and MUST urbanism.