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Turkey's first Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan launched in Istanbul

Deniz Aksoy Deniz Aksoy Beduk Associate,Istanbul
30 March 2022

The countdown has begun for a transformation that will improve the quality of life for Istanbul residents. The Istanbul Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) has been developed by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality within the scope of the "Global Future Cities Programme Turkey" of the United Kingdom’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (UK FCDO) and its Delivery Partner Arup and Strategic Partner the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat). The Istanbul SUMP was announced to the public on March 28th, 2022. The Plan, which constructs a human-oriented transportation system compatible with Istanbul's unique geography and historical values for a sustainable future will be the first of its kind in Turkey, and also the first SUMP in the world in a megacity with a population of over 16 million.

The Istanbul SUMP was prepared to bring a new perspective to conventional transportation planning in Istanbul and to realise a sustainable transportation system focused on people and the environment. Being the first in the country, it was announced to the public on March 28th, 2022 at a launch meeting held in Istanbul Planning Agency’s Florya Campus. At the event, which was hosted by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, the Mayor of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Mr. Ekrem İmamoğlu and British Consul General Istanbul (and HM Trade Commissioner Eastern Europe and Central Asia of United Kingdom), Mr. Kenan Poleo, Mayor’s Advisor Mr. İbrahim Orhan Demir, SUMP Local Team Leader Prof. Dr. Haluk Gerçek and UN-Habitat Advisor Ms. Yelda Reis made speeches emphasising the details and process of the Istanbul SUMP project. 

 
First Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan for Turkey announced in Istanbul First Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan for Turkey announced in Istanbul
The Istanbul SUMP was prepared to bring a new perspective to conventional transportation planning in Istanbul and to realise a sustainable transportation system focused on people and the environment.

Istanbul SUMP was prepared under the scope of the Global Future Cities Programme supported by the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (UK FCDO), UN-Habitat as their strategic partner, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IMM), and the world's leading engineering and technical consultancy firm Arup. NGOs, professional chambers, Universities, experts, public and private sector representatives related to transportation, transportation system operators and other relevant stakeholders participated in the study. Istanbul SUMP has the distinction of being the first sustainable urban mobility plan in Turkey and the first in the world to be implemented in an over 16 million inhabitant a mega-city.

In the launching meeting, the Mayor of IMM Mr. Ekrem İmamoğlu said:  "We have been working for two years for Istanbul SUMP with the vision of an innovative and inclusive system focused on people and environment for a sustainable future” and announced the targets to be achieved with the proposed projects and improvements within the scope of this plan. The Mayor said that "Istanbul SUMP is strictly people oriented. It is a study that aims to implement sustainable transportation modes in this City, which is carried out strictly with the principle of inclusiveness and acts with these principles, in an integrated manner. I happily state that our plan is the first sustainable urban mobility plan in Turkey, and the first among cities with more than 16 million in the world".

On behalf of the UK FCDO Global Future Cities Programme Turkey, Consul General Istanbul and HM Trade Commissioner Eastern Europe and Central Asia of United Kingdom, Mr. Kenan Poleo, stated that: 
“Moving around this majestic, historical, great, amazing city, can be something of a challenge as we in the UK have found with our own big cities, including London. Dependency on cars is not a viable long-term solution for the needs all of our citizens. And we found that traditional planning practices have not been able to provide the affective solutions to mobility problems that we are all facing around the world in all major cities. I think that we should have not have to accept ever growing numbers of cars, which result in rising levels of congestion, environmental damage including damage to the health of all our citizens, many of them very vulnerable, children, young people, people with disabilities, elderly people. So, a new approach is essential. An approach that aims to deliver a transport system that’s accessible, affordable, integrated and inclusive. One that is environmentally friendly and sustainable, one that is economically sustainable and resilient rather like the city of Istanbul itself. And I sincerely hope that we have got a collective view that we have helped develop such a plan for Istanbul. So,  over time we could reduce traffic volumes and congestion, have even more use of public transport and even more use of walking and cycling.”

 

The strategic partner of the Programme, UN-Habitat's Advisor Mrs. Yelda Reis stated that the programme contributed to the realisation of 11 out of 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, and that 26 main projects within this scope will increase the sustainable development level of Istanbul. She stated that Istanbul SUMP would set an example for other SUMP projects that are being prepared in the world in many ways.

Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans have been implemented in important cities of Europe since 2013 within the framework of the European Commission's Urban Mobility Package. As Arup, we, together with United Kingdom Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (UK FCDO), are proud to lead projects that prepare the future of Turkey's most important cities and to contribute to the realization of a first in Turkey once again. It is a source of pride and excitement for Arup to be able to apply our world-class expertise in design engineering and planning with Istanbul SUMP. ” Head shot of Turkey Group Leader Serdar Karahasanoğlu Serdar Karahasanoğlu Turkey Group Leader