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Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan

Aberdeen City Council is currently working on a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan for Aberdeen


What is a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP?)

A SUMP is essentially a transport masterplan looking at the way people move around by different modes of transport. These include walking, cycling, bus, train, taxi, motorcycle, car, van and Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV). To develop the most effective SUMP, it is essential that the public and stakeholders are involved in its development to ensure that the end result is something which brings them the greatest benefit.

The following principles are required for a successful SUMP:

  • ensuring the transport system is accessible to all;
  • improving the safety and security of its users;
  • reducing air and noise pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption;
  • improving the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the transportation of people and goods;
  • enhancing the attractiveness and quality of the urban environment.

Pedestrian friendly areas

Why are we doing it?

Both the business community and the public have told the Council that transport is one of the main issues that we need to address. We know that Aberdeen City is a great City, but it faces many transport challenges:

  • As Scotland's third largest city, with around 213,000 inhabitants, a large number of movements take place within the city centre;
  • As the regional centre for the North East of Scotland, a large surrounding population commute into the city centre for work and to use Aberdeen's services and facilities;
  • Its working harbour in the city centre involves moving goods by Heavy Goods Vehicles;
  • The buoyant Oil Industry has brought a level affluence to the North East that means car ownership is high; and
  • There is no adequate bypass of the City meaning that traffic tends to come through the City Centre to go north/south especially as a number of employment areas tend to be on the edge of the City.

These challenges have led to high car usage, congestion and air quality which exceeds both EU and National targets. Furthermore, the success of covered shopping centres and peripheral business parks has meant that many areas of the city, especially Aberdeen's Union Street, are in need of revitalisation. This Plan will therefore address the transport elements of the Aberdeen City Centre Development Framework as well.

Traffic congestion

With the confirmation that the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) will be constructed and operational by 2018, this will remove a large amount of through-traffic from the city centre. This gives the Council an excellent opportunity to change the way that people access and move around the city and make it a much more enjoyable place to work, live and visit.

What has been done to date?

The Aberdeen SUMP has been split into six stages. Parts 1, 2 and 4 can be viewed below:

  1. Project Plan
  2. Key Document Review
  3. Analyse existing transport network
  4. Identify committed development and impacts
  5. Develop Layered Modal Strategy for improvement
  6. Agree SUMP as Planning Guidance

We are still working on analysing the information from Stage 3.This had many parts including automatic pedestrian counts at 28 sites across the City centre, consultation with stakeholders, modal groups, community councils, city centre users and general public through workshops, on-street interviews and an on-line survey.

These consultation methods asked users how easy they perceived it to get around the city centre by different modes of transport, what they considered as the problems with transport in the city centre, what they thought worked well and what they would suggest as solutions. We've listed some of your comments on problems and solutions below:

  • Too much freight in City Centre
  • More pedestrian areas would cut down the amount of time waiting to cross busy streets
  • Very unpleasant with vehicle fumes, noise and traffic
  • Castlegate is a disgrace. If that was in any other city, there would be loads of nice cafes and stores and it would be a lovely place to go hang out. Instead it's full of drunks
  • The cycle routes are not great, and cars park on them making it harder for cyclists
  • The environment on Union Street for pedestrians is poor in terms of pavement width and noise/pollution from buses
  • City centre should be designed to create less traffic there
  • More priority for moving people, not objects
  • Car rules mentality
  • More features to help deal with changes in levels such as escalator between Union Street and the Green would be welcome
  • Better promotion of the city and wayfinding. For example, shops in the Green have shut because no-one knows they are there
  • More pleasant open spaces to sit and relax needed
  • Have a good spread and mix of attractions and functions

Narrow footways  

We hope that by meeting your objectives and using YOUR ideas we can come up with a range of solutions that meet your needs. Responses are still being analysed but we will bring you further details and options for consultation in the summer.

When will it be implemented?

Once the responses to Stage 3 have been fully analysed, Council officers will work on developing a Layered Modal Strategy, essentially a plan which suggests how each mode of transport will be tackled, for the City Centre and main approaches/ key corridors. A consultation exercise will then be undertaken to allow members of the public to view the plan and comment on. Following the results of this consultation, Council officers will finalise the Plan and ask the appropriate Council Committee to approve it. It is anticipated that the plan will be adopted and implementation can hopefully begin.

How do I get involved?

We will continue to update information on this page, including information about upcoming consultation exercises. Keep checking the SUMP webpage for details. You can also find us on Facebook (Aberdeen SUMP) and Twitter @TSAPAberdeen.

Award Winning

Do the right mix transport logo

The Aberdeen SUMP can now add "Award Winning" to its title, having just been presented with the first ever Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) Award as part of the European Commission's "Do the Right Mix" campaign to encourage Sustainable Urban Mobility in European cities. Aberdeen beat tough competition from Ljutomer, Slovenia and Toulouse, France to scoop the award. Those applying had to demonstrate class-leading "Stakeholder and citizen participation in the SUMP" with Aberdeen's plan judged to be "The result of an open and inclusive process that encompassed public workshops as well as a strong social media presence in order to elicit a wide range of views". The Jury commended this 'outstanding participatory approach … [involving] stakeholders and citizens.'

For further information on the City Council's Local Transport Strategy please use the following link: