Madrid's sustainable goals and achievements in the mobility sector unveiled at stakeholders workshop

Professor Andrés Monzón, from TRANSyT ((Transport Research Center) at the Civil Engineering Department, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, chaired the workshop and welcomed the audience in the prestigious premises of Instituto de Formación y Estudios del Gobierno Local de Madrid.

The first presenter, Professor Zissis Samaras, from Technical University of Thessaloniki, presented the project objectives and consortium partners. The event included presentations on Madrid’s accomplishments in the field of sustainable mobility air improved air quality, and the three ICT-Emissions test sites: Madrid, Turin and Rome.

Director Javier Rubio from City of Madrid Sustainability and Mobility Department presented Madrid’s sustainability and mobility strategy to achieving substantial improvements in air quality and energy efficiency. Mr Rubio welcomed all participants on behalf of the mayor: “Current talks on smart cities” Rubio said “reveal that all stakeholders in the debate want more sustainable communities. This is the case for ICT-Emissions, and Madrid is proud to participate in the project and to be the host of this workshop.” He added: “As a Polis member, I hope that outputs from this fruitful workshop will be further disseminated through the network to reach out to more cities across EU.”

As early as the ’90s, Madrid has acknowledged the need for integration between various policy areas, certainly a risky exercise. Madrid has long time gone for green policies: “We want to be intelligent not only smart!” stressed Rubio. “There’s a difference between being listos and inteligentes. Cities are like complex ecosystems to manage: The future is in the hands of those who can manage complexity. Understanding cities, and finding intelligent solutions to problems is the way we want to go here in Madrid.”

Madrid is coping with complexity through two main strategic planning instruments: the Plan for the Sustainable Use of Energy and Climate Change Prevention, which ended December 2012, a new plan is now being prepared; and the 2011-2015 Madrid Air Quality Plan. Common main objectives: Reduction of GHG emissions and improvement of energy efficiency. “When it comes to air quality, it’s for local communities to do things. This is also one of the Covenant of Mayors’ objectives: To take action at the local level” continues Rubio. “The action of cities in fundamental: If cities do not comply with their plans, we will not achieve our goals.”

City of Madrid's Plan for the Sustainable Use of Energy and Climate Change Prevention & Air Quality Plan 2011-2015

The Plan for the Sustainable Use of Energy comprises 55 measures to achieving a clear set of targets, 10 of them focus on transport and mobility. Total investment: EUR 45.3 million (Action 2008-2011).

On climate change and air quality in cities Rubio said: “We need to find policies that generate synergies and not problems. We want cities to participate in climate change. This means that we need a global view to understand global problems and air quality is a major problem for cities in terms of reality and people’s perception.” In that respect, Madrid is looking at the use of ecodiesels, and the promotion of performing technologies to reduce emissions. “Lessons we must understand is that here in Madrid we like to integrate things and find solutions: but to achieve these, we need more investment in research.”

Madrid’s Air Quality Plan aims to consolidate what has been already achieved and ensure fulfillment of all the established objectives under current law within the legally planned time frame, and in particular, NOx limit values. From 1990 to 2009 a significant - 40% NOx reduction was achieved, of which -21% in three years between 2006-2009.

“Air quality was improved thanks to good reduction of emissions. Many things can still be done and we can continue doing because there is still margin for this.” The Air Quality Plan has total 70 measures, 63 measures have started corresponding to 90% of the total. 42 measures are in the transport and mobility sector. Total investment of the operation: 90.6 million.

Some of the main achievements in transport and mobility: Creation of a Low Emissions Zones (LEZ) and implementation of a separate regulated parking system rate within the LEZ. Consolidation and strengthening the renewal of the municipal fleet of vehicles to cleaner technologies. 373 buses were purchased, this is the biggest natural gas fleet in EU after Paris and the biggest capacity in charging natural gas. Increase of pedestrian areas 2,875 mq (2 million EUR). New taxi regulation. Promotion of electro-mobility: Public bus fleet integrates 20 fully electric, and 23 hybrid buses, 438 charging points, tax incentives for cleaner vehicles. Subsides for taxi renewal. Promotion of the use of bicycles, 283 km cycle infrastructure. Carpooling and carsharing initiatives.

Madrid's Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP)

Madrid has also started an SUMP. The city has created the “Mobility Board” as a forum to exchange knowledge among parties involved in generating a sustainable strategy for the city. The Board is open to stakeholders from industry, city offices, university, and civil society, and every year generates a mobility report on mobility related issues in the city. SUMP goals: Mobility has to be sustainable, competitive, universal, and safe. The Plan has six strategic lines: Regulate vehicle demand, maximize sustainable ways (walking , cycling, PT, motorcycles), encourage cleaner vehicles, regulate good distribution, promote safer habits and environments, and ensure citizens participation and public information.

Another line of action in Madrid - which the SUMP is part of - is the “Pro Clima Forum” (for environment & climate) started with 25 big companies in Madrid and Spain, now 57 companies are involved. Main results: Create a forum for discussion and exchange of common experiences, and ideas with the aim to generate synergies. Establish a platform to modelling initiatives such as Business Mobility Plans. “We ask for leadership. What we do as a City Council, the initiatives we put forward in terms of mobility they can help to promote in the private sector through voluntary agreements. We want to introduce clean solutions in the companies.” Last but not least: this is a forum to disseminate innovation, and ideas among all different smaller companies and other smaller infrastructures that do not have that innovative capacity but could du use idea in that form.

Rubio concluded his intervention saying that “Madrid participates in ICT-Emission with the aim to have a better city and nicer environment and climate. And of course a better quality of life.”

For more information on Madrid's sustainability plans, please download the presentation.

For more information on ICT-Emissions, please visit the project website.