A bold political vision allied to urgent action has transformed travel within a city where cycling now prospers alongside scooters and Segways are set to follow
The dramatic transformation of Seville’s sustainable transport network in little more than a decade has made the Spanish city a go-to case study for mobility planners.
Cycling is booming and new laws have paved the way for electric scooters and Segways to share traffic-free space with pedestrians and cyclists.
Meanwhile, new modes of public transport have challenged the dominance of the car, forming part of a mobility eco-system that has cut congestion and improved air quality.
Importantly, the steps Seville took to revolutionise its transport strategy can be replicated in any other city, provided there is the political will.
As a prelude to creating a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan, earlier this year the city carried out 47,000 technical surveys in homes, main roads and public transport to track mobility patterns and the real needs of travellers and pedestrians.
The survey monitored the time, frequency and type of transport used by urban travellers, and found that the private car accounted for 40.5% of journeys, followed by pedestrian mobility at 28.5%, public transport on 24% and cycling and motorcycles on 6.8%.
“Now we really have objective data on how the city moves, where travellers come from and where they are going, the volume of their movements and so on,” says Juan Carlos Cabrera, Seville’s councillor responsible for security, institutional relations, town hall and traffic.
Armed with this data he has pledged to create a sustainable mobility strategy in which public transport (bus, rail, subway, tram), walking, cycling and e-mobility (scooters, Segways) will prevail at the expense of ‘private and polluting’ vehicles.
“The main means of transport is still the private vehicle, and reducing this is a great challenge we must face with a firm commitment to other mobility alternatives,” says Cabrera.
“It is a matter of health and the future of the city.
"Traffic represents the main source of pollutant emissions and to achieve a sustainable city model we must reduce the number of private vehicles and support non-polluting vehicles and public transport.”
The Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan will feed into Seville’s 2030 Strategic Plan, which pledges priority to both ‘decarbonised public and non-motorised mobility’, building on the city’s bike lane network, and relatively new tramway (2007) and underground metro (2009).
The plan also promises traffic reduction measures to curb greenhouse gas emissions by 25,000 tonnes per year.
One area where Seville has already excelled is in promoting zero emission transport through the rapid development of its cycling network.
Read the full article on How Seville supports zero emission transport on its streets from the Smart Transport Journal