Debrecen’s renewed Sustainable Mobility Plan 2023 was presented on 6th December at the Kölcsey Centre during a roundtable discussion with the participation of Mayor László Papp, Deputy Mayor Ákos Balázs and the authors of the SUMP.

The SUMP (Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan) is the cornerstone of European transport policy. It creates complex plans that assess transport and transport needs in isolation and considers the social, environmental, economic development and other societal aspects of urban development.

Debrecen is a pioneer in developing renewed mobility plans based on the so-called SUMP 2.0 methodology, as our city can boast of a professionally finalised plan ready for socialisation and already in line with the new standards. This in itself is an achievement that requires bringing together local stakeholders, residents, city management, transport operators, and industry to create a vision for a liveable, green, and sustainable urban transport system, considering all stakeholders’ needs.

Debrecen’s renewed Sustainable Mobility Plan 2023 was presented on 6th December 2023 at the Kölcsey Centre in a roundtable discussion with Mayor László Papp, Deputy Mayor Ákos Balázs and the SUMP authors.

Mayor of Debrecen László Papp said in his introduction: Debrecen has come a long way in the last 25 years. In particular, the last ten years have created extraordinary opportunities and achievements in the field of economic development but have also generated challenges for which answers must be found. In recent years, Debrecen has developed several major urban development strategies, the most important of which are the New Phoenix Plan launched in 2016 and the Debrecen2030 urban strategy adopted by the government in 2020. Economic, transport, education, cultural and other welfare improvements are needed. In a city in transition with a strong economic dynamic, transport must try to keep pace with all aspects of change. This is why the new Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan for Debrecen is vital. The previous version, adopted in 2016, was a more city-centre-focused transport programme. The latest version shows a city moving towards a decentralised transport system, considering the transport needs of the economy and the increasingly intensive residential developments of the future. The mayor stressed that a great deal of consultation with professional and social stakeholders had taken place during the preparation of the document. The city is constantly changing, challenges are constantly emerging, and the city administration is continually trying to respond. Since adopting the New Phoenix Plan, transport interventions have been carried out in many parts of the city, mainly through municipal investments. In recent years, these have been joined by significant public investments representing solutions for Debrecen, which has already changed a dimension. In 2024, 19 transport development projects will be launched in the city, 6 of which are at the concrete implementation stage, and the rest are at the planning stage. The development of an internal transport corridor and a major external bypass on the city’s eastern side is of the utmost importance. Planning, trail design and environmental impact assessment are already underway. László Papp stressed that the issue of digitalisation in transport is very important. The city assembly adopted the Sustainable Urban Development Strategy. The infrastructural conditions for creating an intelligent urban management centre are practically in place, and the resources are available to develop the technical and technological conditions for this centre, thanks to government support. The mayor pointed out that the new, very high-quality mobility strategy, which is capable of setting out strategic transport development orientations for the short, medium and long term, will also have to be constantly reviewed in light of the challenges ahead.

Ákos Balázs, Deputy Mayor, underlined that the world is changing fast, technologies are changing fast, and Debrecen is developing even faster: “We want to develop this city so that it remains unmistakably Debrecen and that all Debrecen citizens are the winners of this change. Public transport is part of our everyday life, so it is a very important priority. There is a saying that data is the new oil. That is why it is very important that digitalisation is present in this and why we formulated the idea years ago to create a city management centre based on this. The underground car park on Dósa Nádor Square is already being built to accommodate this city management centre.

This Is a Very Important Message, As We Are Going to Introduce a Completely New Approach to Traffic Management in the City,” He highlighted.

The reception of the programme, which will enter the implementation phase in 2024, has been very positive from transport companies and NGOs alike.


The concept, which has been developing and expanding since 2005, will enable cities and towns in Europe, including Hungary, to link their investment programmes for different transport modes in an organised, systematic and professionally supported way, with the aim of meeting the mobility needs of local residents, businesses and transit passengers in a sustainable and green way, not only in the cities themselves but also in the conurbations, for a better quality of life. This will result in complex plans that not only assess transport and transport needs per se, but also take into account the social, environmental, economic development and other social aspects of urban development.

A cornerstone of the situation analysis was to reach out to local stakeholders, such as professionals, professional background institutions, the economy, society, green movements and leaders of agglomeration municipalities. The plan’s authors collected public opinion through a large-scale face-to-face survey of nearly 3,000 people. Traffic counts were carried out in several cases, traffic databases, accident and traffic statistics were analysed and the experience was incorporated into a digital traffic model covering all the streets of the city. Finally, measures were proposed for the short (2027), medium (2030-35) and long term (2050).

Some of the proposals made include:

– the implementation of the eastern external and internal transport corridor;

– the construction of tram line 3; the reconstruction of tram line 1;

– investments in interchanges;

– a basic concept for an intelligent urban transport management centre was developed.

– The SUMP also proposes to renew the parking system.

– Cyclists and pedestrians have not been left out of the planning either: a number of new sections, maintenance of existing cycle paths and the development of innovative cycle storage facilities to serve the city’s cycle routes are also included in the programme.

As the city develops, it must also prepare for the increase in traffic from the conurbation, and by 2030 the city plans to have measures in place to deal effectively with the surge in vehicles and traffic:

– implement the so-called “15-minute city” concept, which means that everything we need for our daily lives is within 15 minutes walking, cycling and public transport distance;

– as a first step, digitise transport management on the busiest routes in the city;

– create the Digital Debrecen traffic management centre, capable of managing traffic flows within the city with immediate interventions;

– prepare the deployment of future transport technologies, such as self-driving passenger transport, through pilot projects;

– supporting the digitalisation of public transport through the implementation of a city card application;

– It will improve the transport infrastructure of individual residential areas and industrial parks, as well as commercial and cultural centres, and provide public transport to key urban destinations;

– introduces the Digital City Gateway model, where parking and public transport services for local residents are preferred within the Debrecen ring road, while for those arriving from the agglomeration, parking and convenient onward connections are provided at public transport hubs;

– Allowing freight movement in the city centre during off-peak periods and preferring in the future to use quiet light and medium duty vehicles with alternative drive trains before the morning rush hour;

– renewing public transport by greening the local transport fleet, developing fixed rail lines and better matching timetables and service areas

– supports the further uptake of micro-mobility through the development of agglomeration connecting cycle routes and internal cycling infrastructure, with bicycle storage capacity adapted to user needs; 

– integrating suburban transport into the local transport model and developing the eastern transport corridor and access roads, including agglomeration rail links; 

– develops transport infrastructure capacity measures based on the expected traffic congestion in the 2030 and 2050 target dates, giving priority to the development of dedicated and roundabout interchanges, the deployment of linear infrastructure to serve the airport with its increased traffic, and the development of local road networks to support the development of industrial parks;  

– give priority to sustainable solutions in all its projects, giving preference to installing renewable energy production capacity on newly created infrastructure elements and using the renewable capacity made to green public transport in an energy community.

These are only examples, as Debrecen is trying to ensure the efficient satisfaction of the city’s green, sustainable traffic organisation and the additional transport demand resulting from economic growth with more than 150 named and spatially defined, complex project packages.  

Debrecen City Sustainable Mobility Plan (SUMP) is available at the following link: https://www.debrecen.hu/hu/debreceni/kozerdeku-adatok/sump-fenntarthato-varosi-mobilitastervezes

Source: https://www.debrecen.hu

Author: Debrecen4U