Towards transformation-oriented planning: what can sustainable urban mobility planning (SUMP) learn from transition management (TM)?

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleInvitedpeer-review


  • Richard Hartl - , Chair of Transport Ecology (Author)
  • Philip Harms - , Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (Author)
  • Markus Egermann - , Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (Author)


The European Commission’s concept of Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning (SUMP) aims to prepare transport planners for the challenge of fundamental transformations to achieve climate-neutral and sustainable cities. While the concept has been widely adopted by European cities over the last decade, it can be asked whether SUMP is able to trigger the required transformative change in mobility systems. This paper critically reflects on the SUMP concept by systematically comparing it with the theoretical governance framework of Transition Management (TM), which is explicitly designed to foster transformative change. Based on a literature review, we examine similarities and differences between these approaches regarding the planning dimensions of context, content and process. Drawing on this comparison, the paper demonstrates how SUMP could learn from TM in practice and research in four main ways: (i) utilising transition theory to better address transition features; (ii) using collaborative formats from TM while taking account of legitimacy concerns; (iii) incorporating backcasting approaches; and (iv) explicitly integrating experiments into the process cycle. The paper exemplifies how insights from transition research can stimulate the further development of procedures, methods and tools towards transformation-oriented planning.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-190
Number of pages24
JournalTransport Reviews
Issue number1
Early online dateJul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2023

External IDs

WOS 001044761200001
Scopus 85167588142
ORCID /0000-0002-1473-2128/work/142233386
Mendeley 4e3dd997-8fc9-30ca-85f9-489cbde99226


Research priority areas of TU Dresden

DFG Classification of Subject Areas according to Review Boards

Sustainable Development Goals


  • Transitions, governance, transformations, transition management, transport planning, urban mobility, Transport planning, Urban mobility, Transition management, Transformations, Governance, >