Now for Plan A

Now for Plan A

Plan A is a great step forward for sustainable transport, say Michel Arnd and Sergio Fernandez Balaguer

In the past few years, Madrid has struggled with problems such as air pollution and heavy traffic. To approach the issue, Madrid plans to reduce the number of cars in the city, and to promote public transport and active mobility modes, also by introducing new mobility solutions.

  • The BiciMAD bike-sharing scheme (pictured below) provides 2,028 electric bicycles on 165 stations across the city centre. The bicycles are available throughout the year.
  • The four electric car sharing providers, Emov, Car2Go, Zity and Wible have more than 400,000 subscribers all together. Together, they also maintain over 2,300 electric cars.
  • The six electric scooter sharing providers, eCooltra, IoScoot, Movo, Coup, Muving and Acciona manage a fleet of slightly more than 4,100 e-motorbikes.

In 2017, the city approved its new Air Quality Plan, a comprehensive strategy to develop sustainable transport further. The strategy proposes aircleaning measures under a 30-point plan entitled Plan A for Air Quality and Climate Change, “because there is no plan B,” as the Mayor Manuela Carmena said.

Plan A stands for a paradigm shift in Madrid, which the Municipal Transport Company of Madrid (Empresa Municipal de Transportes, EMT) applied consciously. While traditional policy approached pollution with marked-based mechanisms, the new policy aims at preventing polluters from driving. It forbids high-polluting vehicles to use public space. The new measures include

  • Reducing the space dedicated to cars in favour of more sustainable modes
  • Parking permits related to pollutant level
  • Social public transport prices
  • Introducing alternative modes while removing parking Madrid is actively encouraging a shift to cycling. It has doubled the number of shared bikes and extended docking stations beyond the M30 ring road for the first time.


is seeking to position itself as a provider of sustainable mobility services of the future. The city has created its own Mobility as a Service application, MaaS Madrid, which aims to provide high quality and updated information on public transport and additional services in the Spanish capital.

In the smartphone application, MaaS Madrid, EMT gathers all of the mobility service providers operating in Madrid in a single interface. With the new app, the city of Madrid aims to position itself as a pioneer in mobility sharing and multimodal transport. It is part of measure 21 of Plan A which supports shared and multimodal mobility initiatives. MaaS Madrid was launched in spring 2018. It provides users with different, more efficient and ecofriendly ways to travel across the city.

It contains georeferenced information, allowing users to identify all of the mobility services available in their surroundings. Initially, it will contain public transport and the sharing services Bicimad, Car2Go, Emov, Zity, Muving, eCooltra and Ioscoot. It will also facilitate access to taxi services. EMT will gradually include more features, such as the calculation and comparison of routes, more customised options and the possibility to book seats, purchase tickets, etc.

By selecting the origin and destination of their journeys in the MaaS Madrid app, users can visualise the a range of options according to their preferences (the fastest, the cheapest, the least polluting trip, etc) and complete all of the necessary reservation processes, directly or through the provider’s app.

Gradually other services will be incorporated, such as the station-based car clubs Respiro and Blumove, with which the EMT is working technically to differentiate them from free floating car sharers. EMT practises an open approach and invited further companies to join the system.

In addition to serving the citizen, the city and the participating operators that perceive the tool as an opportunity to develop their services and to extend public-private collaboration further. Ultimately it might even lead to a new model of urban mobility. EMT also operates an extensive open data portal, providing statistical, dynamic and real-time data about the different services it provides (bus, public bike, mobility, parking), as well as instructions on how to integrate with your own applications.

Implications for governance and policy

When developing the plan, EMT drew some additional conclusions which they see as success factors for developing such as policy. ● Political will to implement urban policies and strategies ● Clear priorities and messages for communication and awareness raising ● Cooperation among stakeholders (incl. public administrations) ● Policies based on legal frameworks ● Stable financing schemes


The services haven’t been in place for very long, but they show how public transport operators can successfully create their own multimodal app, which includes a range of high-profile services.

Nevertheless, developing a MaaS app and the intensive dialogue with the local stakeholders has positioned Madrid at the forefront of mobility development and allows EMT to maintain a structured dialogue with all stakeholders.

Next steps could include a stronger packaging approach that would allow users to use certain modes as flat rates or packages.

With the new policies around the Plan A, EMT reinforced its policy approach to support the deployment of clean fuels and vehicles in cities. The new plan marks another step towards the goal of zero emissions.


Michel Arnd is the Coordinator of Polis Global at Polis. Sergio Fernandez Balaguer leads the Research and Innovation Projects Department of EMT, Madrid’s Public Transport Company.




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