Madrid and EMT Madrid win POLIS 2022 Award!

The 2022 POLIS Award winners are Madrid and EMT Madrid, recognising their relentless contribution to and investment in innovation for more sustainable urban mobility.

Each year, the POLIS Award — formerly known as the Thinking Cities Award, with past winners the likes of Amsterdam and Gothenburg — is presented to a POLIS member who has made great strides in sustainable transport innovation, acknowledging solutions presented at the Annual Conference and engagement in the network across the last year and beyond.

From logistics innovation to public transport governance, the POLIS Award celebrates the steps taken, goals met, and knowledge shared, honouring how a member has helped to propel our sustainable mobility transition, both for themselves and their peers.

This year’s winner is Madrid and their transport operator EMT Madrid.

EMT bus in Madrid, Unsplash

Over the last few years, the Spanish capital (and Climate Neutral Cities Mission city) has made big progress in its sustainable mobility planning and deployment; from Mobility as a Service to logistics hubs, fleet renewal and electrification to enhance public transport, among others, they have been boosting innovative passenger and goods transport solutions in new and innovative ways.

These strides are no coincidence; behind these actions is a strong and systematic planning approach which places clean, accessible and smart transport front and centre.

This year, Madrid approved the final text of the 'Madrid 360 Sustainable Mobility Plan', which seeks to extend public transport offers, improve road safety, promote active mobility and review parking management — all by 2030.

EMT app

Madrid is firmly on the way there, with solutions which have paved the way for others.

Madrid’s mobility innovations are staggering. From their MaaS platform, Madrid Mobility 360 app, to its micro-hub at the Plaza Mayor — the city has continually thought outside the box for moving passengers and goods across the capital.

This year it went one step further. EMT launched an ‘ideathon’ to design the Concept Bus, calling for proposals for a full-scale prototype vehicle that attracts new users and makes travelling by public transport easier and more appealing.

It is these types of experiments with new technologies, designs and partnerships which are placing the city firmly on the mobility map. Together, Madrid and EMT have been trailblazers, not afraid to experiment with new approaches- and have reaped the rewards.

EMT Madrid General Manager, Alfonso Sánchez Vicente said: "Madrid and EMT Madrid have continually been exploring new and innovative ways of creating smarter, more sustainable and inclusive transport. Like many cities and operators, the pandemic created huge challenges, but we have turned these into opportunities, and are now moving forward faster than ever before, with the aim of making Madrid a better and more sustainable city for all its citizens and visitors."

The POLIS award is not simply for outstanding work in mobility, it also honours our members’ commitment to peer-to-peer sharing, and their work supporting others in their transport transition.

Madrid has certainly fulfilled this category. The city and EMT has continually joined POLIS’ working groups, webinars, summits and workshops to share their approaches to urban mobility, what they have found effective, and lessons for others seeking to follow suit- and not just in 2022!

As host of June’s Urban Freight meeting, they provided a forum for public-private sector discussion; while at our Glasgow Leadership Summit, they pushed other delegates to make the firm pledges required to meet our ambitious targets in the tight timeframes we are facing.

Tecnobus Gulliver is a microbus that is used in the projects concerning Madrid automated public transport  — Credits: EMT Madrid

As their contribution to last year’s Public Transport Lab webinar series revealed, they are always able to provide a hard hitting and honest account of the challenges our cities and regions face, and the financial and political commitments demanded.

Furthermore, their role as Vice-President and ambassador for the POLIS Global Platform has engaged municipalities beyond on Europe.

I think you will all agree, a very worthy winner!
— Credit: Simon Pugh Photography