Sustainable mobility in the City of Burgos

Sustainable mobility in the City of Burgos


The project tried to perform a series of measures and actions linked together with the purpose of changing the transport in the city of Burgos (Spain)to a more sustainable and less polluting one. The project was supported by the CIVITAS Initiative, the European Commission, and it was performed with the help and support of twenty other European cities that participated in the same program.

Background and Objective

Situation before the initiative began: In the city of Burgos the situation regarding mobility was poor. Public transport was old, polluting, inefficient and inaccessible. The bicycle was notused for the daily commuting and the city did not have any infrastructure. The downtown was full of parked carsor private vehicles crossing very important monuments depriving citizens andtourists to enjoy a relaxed and peaceful place to buy or for leisureactivities. The traffic in general was chaotic with little or no informationregarding the underground car parks or options of routes to avoid jams. The trips to industrial areas daily collapsed the roads in the city. Finally, the percentage of users ofpublic transport, bicycle or other means of private collective transport (carpooling, company private bus) of 11.53% was very small comparing with the useof private car users, 34.97%. Establishment of priorities: The Municipality of Burgos, together with the Strategic Plan City decided to jointhe CIVITAS program, although the City Council had already decided to change thissituation by investing money and effort despite the program would be given ornot. Thus,through the program and under the political leadership of the council, theStrategic Plan with the management and dissemination and the technicalassistance from the Technological Institute of Castilla and León and the University ofBurgos,carried out the actions. For the citizen consensus and the involvement ofvarious stakeholders: residents, hoteliers, social groups ... the StrategicPlan as well as the Council did the actions through their bodies for citizenparticipation. Formulation of objectives and strategies: - Reductionof private car use and increase of the use of more sustainable transport (public transport, cycling, collective private transport, car pooling). - Total accessibility in the displacement ofthe citizens in the day-by-day. - Gas emission reduction in both public andprivate transport, promotion of cleaner fuels. - Total reductionof traffic in the downtown, restoring the public space for citizens andtourists. - To increase the traffic control and toprovide better information for drivers and parking facilities for a moresustainable transport and better respect to the urban environment. - Public aware ofthe actions and support in the process of design and implementation from thestakeholders since the beginning of the process. All theseobjectives were established by the City Council in consultation with thestakeholders involved to carry out the Plan of Action in order to make everyonefeel benefited. Mobilisation of resources: With the political support of the City Council, the civil servants began to work onthe project, aided by the workers of the Strategic Plan to guide them to followthe proposed Action Plan (Sustainable Mobility Plan of the City, presented in 2005, and the CiViTAS project).The City Council has been the key factor in terms of financing with funds fromthe European Commission. Alsothanks to the Strategic Plan, citizens´ participation was achieved, as the Planis an entity with more than 65 institutions involved (University, local banks,political parties, unions, neighborhood associations, stakeholder association,companies…) so many meetings could be organized through the organization ofthis entity which belongs to the Council of Burgos. Thetechnical part was developed by the Technological Institute of Castilla y Leonand the University of Burgos.They developed the bicycle free loan system and performed the tests andimprovements in bio fuels, or the electronic bollards system used to reach thehistoric center.

Actions and Implementation

The best strategywas the consensus of every action carried out to satisfy everyone. One of themost complicated actions was the pedestrianization of the historical center asthe neighbors (and other stakeholders too: the shop owners, e.g.) were worried aboutbeing stranded. The strategywas conducted reaching consensus needs. For example, more than 2,000 cardswere distributed among the residents for the access to the center, there werespecial permits for relatives of elderly people, and consensus was reached onthe schedule for loading and unloading for the different business (shops,hotels, restaurants) to be served without problems and on time. There wereconducted more than 50 meetings to agree the final solution. The major achievements have beenperformed without problems the pedestrianization with high satisfaction ratesby the citizenship (more than 98% of citizens are happy to enjoy again thepublic space without noise, danger or pollution). Other initiatives were agreed withneighbors, stakeholders or groups concerned. Associations met to carry out thechange of schedules and bus lines, along with associations of bicycle userscharted the new plane of the bicycle lane (in fact, the new bike lane was awork completely done by the associations) or met with associations of personswith reduced mobility to carry out accessibility projects. Thinkingin the workers of the industrial area and the University students, the carpooling initiative was launched (but now is open to all citizens), along with amarketing campaign and gifts for users ( hindex.aspx) currently working withmore than 400 users. Other initiative about the daily travel to the industrialareas was the private collective bus, with a plan of action between companiesin the same area carrying 2,000 people per day. Anothermeasure with high impact has been the organization of workshops for children(to school by bike, bus to school, walking-bus to school) for children from 11to 16 years. They have become permanent for the curriculum of these studentsfor future courses. Finally, the two most important steps towards the citizens were themarketing and the awareness to convince the citizens of the benefits ofsustainable urban transport and the discussion forum of all the stakeholdersinvolved, with numerous meetings to agree the actions. The citizens have changedtheir mind and increased the percentage of those who use more sustainable meansof transport (nowadays close to a 35%).

Outcomes and Impacts

Thesituation regarding urban transport in the city after the project has changedcompletely. Thepercentage of daily users of public buses has increased by 8% and the total ofthose who choose public transport (private and public) has reached to a 35%. Thebicycle users became more numerous for their daily trips (after rising morethan 3000% according to 2004 figures) and have started to break the imageassociated with the bicycle with the low purchasing power people or the youngstudents now being used by all kind of people (workers, elderlypeople, children, all kind of men and women). Theproject has impacted on the habits and also the figures of pollution with areduction of a 14% in emissions by only public transport, and also noisereduction, better accessibility (with high score according to studies by theONCE, Spanish Blind People Organization), and most importantly, returning thepublic space through the rehabilitation to the citizens and the reduction oftraffic and vehicles in the city. Thanks to the many meetingsorganized with stakeholders, it has been created a permanent platform formeetings and a specific group that discusses issues of mobility andaccessibility has been created, as well as leaving as a permanent legacy withthe Mobility and Accessibility Office in the downtown, and a commitment by theMunicipality of improvements of the sustainable mobility in the daily life. Finally,citizenship, being better informed they drive better (safer and provoking lessdanger to the pedestrian) and park better. Theproject has also succeeded in Spanish and European prizes for the bestsustainable transport initiative (Spanish Ministry of Industry Award in 2006 orthe CIVITAS City of the Year Prizein 2007 at European level). The project got the award of ATEGRUS (Associationof Spanish recycling) for the good practice of collecting used cooking oil forbiodiesel transformation in 2006; it was also finalist in the European MobilityWeek Award 2008 and finalist in the Green Fleet Award for sustainable fleet in2008. Theproject received the Energy GlobeAward in the category Air in Prague in April2009. The awards are considered the Nobel Award for SustainabilityActions, and it is famous at global scale.

Sustainability and Scalability

The project wasaccomplished scrupulously following sustainability criteria. Not only for the measures andactivities performed, as it sought to achieve a more sustainable city in termsof urban transport, using cleaner transportation means, reducing dependence onnonrenewable resources and promoting bicycle use (nearly 100% sustainable). The project tried to avoid thewasting of resources and materials using recycled materials and promoting thereuse policy, and a policy of gender equality (the project officers in theCouncil were women, as well as the evaluation manager and the politicalrepresentative in the beginning of the project). The project wasaccomplished scrupulously following sustainability criteria. Not only for the measures andactivities performed, as it sought to achieve a more sustainable city in termsof urban transport, using cleaner transportation means, reducing dependence onnonrenewable resources and promoting bicycle use (nearly 100% sustainable). The project tried to avoid thewasting of resources and materials using recycled materials and promoting thereuse policy, and a policy of gender equality (the project officers in theCouncil were women, as well as the evaluation manager and the politicalrepresentative in the beginning of the project). Alsowithin the project was conducted a gender equality message (printing postcardswith the theme "Gender Equality in Transport") and promoting freedomof movement and independence of women through specific courses that were madeto encourage bicycle use particularlyamong older women (teaching them how to drive the bicycle). Socialinclusion with regard to persons with limited movement was especially takeninto account in carrying out the project and those groups were called to join the meetings in the moment of making decisions. The company in charge of the bicycle loan system also has got to contract people with disabilities. Other groups such as children, elderly people (especially for its limited mobility)have particular regard to carry out transport measures. For these specific groups some courses and training sessions have been held (bicycle and bus promotion and use in both cases).

Gender and Social Inclusivity

The transferability of the innovation, (as well as the whole projectinvolving many groups and forms of technology perfectly transferable to anyother medium sized city), has been in the bicycle system. The technology wasdeveloped by the ITCL, one of the partners of the project, in addition to locally manufacturedmaterials and bicycles. Thebicycle rental system has been transferred to more than twenty Spanish citiesand in other countries such as Poland. Theproject itself and the restriction of the historic center to the privatevehicle and the process of pedestrianization in the City of Burgos has beenpartially reproduced in other Spanish cities such as Valladolid or Madrid, thatcopied the process of Burgos (involving the stakeholders) in the process ofpedestrianization of several streets. The mobility experts from those citiesvisited Burgos and reproduced theprocess followed to their cities (The Foundation of Mobility in the City of Madrid and the PolytechnicUniversity of Madrid to give a pair of examples). The bollards system wasvisited by experts from California (USA) and the bicycle policy as well as theparticipation process was visited by experts from the University of Nagoya andTokyo (Japan).More than fifty cities at European level (from Spain, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, France, UK, Italy, Poland,Rumania, Bulgaria, Austria, Slovenia…)have visited the measures implemented to reproduce the process in their own cities.

Initiative Contribution

Test data of initiative contribution

Innovative Initiative

Thanks to the monitoring of the Strategic Plan of the City of Burgos (comprising over 65 companies, NGOs, technology centers, University, public entities, associations...) the dialogue was the key factor to carry out the actions. This key factor is included in every brochure or presentation and is denoted as the major success factor regarding the initiative. The Council always finishes its brochures saying thanks to the citizens and the stakeholders involved for their support and collaboration. Thanks to the project it has been established a permanent collaboration infrastructure and forums on mobility with the participation of the citizens. As the project was intended to give voice to the community, more than 300 sessions on various topics were held to plan, discuss or explain the actions undertaken or to take. In addition, forums were held also in a virtual way (internet: The reason for this high participation was also thanks to the competitions organized (for children and adults, for example the postcard campaign in which the citizens sent ideas on mobility) and children's workshops, which have reached more than 2,000 schoolchildren and also the workshops for elderly women, with more than 200 women participating in the courses. In addition, some of the actions were made by the same groups involved (the plane of the bike lane was done by the collective of the association of users of the bike or the accessibility plan was done by the association of multiple sclerosis disability affected people). It could improve the speed of the implementation and sometimes helped the Council to implement a more aggressive policy against the car. The City had learned bad habits and it was necessary to act slowly. However, many of the actions that at first view seemed too aggressive against the particular vehicle(movement or parking restrictions) have been ordered and support by the citizens themselves afterwards.


RELATED POLICIES The experience of Burgos droveat regional level, for example, to a policy with regards to cycling and bicyclesystem and inspired more than ten cities where the regional governmentperformed the same success experience of our city. The EnergyRegional Authority decided that several cities and towns had to implement thesame or similar system and other measures that pioneered Burgos (officemobility, access to downtown, pedestrianising streets, real-time information atbus stops…). At this moment inSpain there is no law to leave a specific bike lane, e.g., in the roads orstreets in the cities, however, in our city, and throughout the region, newdevelopments have been implemented for the bicycle spaces from the beginning oftheir planning, and now it can´t be conceivednot appear as an important part of the cityscape. In terms ofaccessibility measures, legislation exists in Spain,even an ISO standards is applied for excellence. On transport, Burgos has implemented urban transport 100%accessible, creating an example to other cities, resulting in one of the bestcities in those terms according to expert studies, for example, theOrganization ONCE (Blind People Organization in Spain). Many cities have decided to pedestrianizetheir historic centers also following the inspiration of the City of Burgos andafter visiting our City. At European level,thanks to pressure from the city of Burgos throughthe POLIS network in which it participates, the EC has carried out morepolicies to support the electric vehicle, for example, or the efficiency ofurban transportation through technology communication. References: This section has tried to show the impact especially at spreading to other cities the message because the city of Burgos was invited in many occasions to explain the project, achievements and evaluation results. Nearly all articles and presentations are presentations made at international Forums. Some have been excluded as an explanation in the CIVITAS Initiative Forum in Kaunas regarding the marketing measures and participation of citizens in terms of sustainable mobility in November 2007, or the CIVITAS Forum in Bologna in October 2008 on the evaluation of good practices in an medium size European city which has changed its urban setting in terms of sustainable transport. In March 2010 the City has been invited to the International Forum organized by the "Transport for London" in the city of London to tell of their experience and good practice in a European average city. -Title: Presentation of the CIVITAS Measures Evaluation. Source: José María Diez, presentation Junta de Castilla y León (Castilla and Leon Regional Government, Mobility Week 2009, Zamora (Spain), September 2009 -Title: Presentation of the CiViTAS Project Evaluation Results Source: José María Diez, presentation Move on Green (Sustainable Mobility Congress) Murcia (Spain) September 2009 -Title: Soft Measures, Strong Solutions Source: José María Diez, Presentation in the EMT (Public Transport in Madrid) in the Mobility European Congress, Madrid (Spain), December 2008 -Title: CiViTAS Measures and Actions Presentation of Results (A New Mobility in a Medium-Size City) Source: José María Diez, Environment Ministry Mobility Week Congress, Madrid (Spain), September 2008 -Title “Sustainable Mobility Marketing and other Dissemination Activities focusing on different Stakeholders” Source: José María Diez, ECOMM International Congress, London, May 2008 -Title: Sustainable Mobility in the City of Burgos Source: José María Diez, Article in the Environment Magazine of the Government of Cantabria, March 2008 -Title: CiViTAS Caravel initiative Presentation Source: José María Diez, Eduardo Escudero, Environment Ministry, Mobility Week Congress September 2005 -Title: Better Experiences in Sustainable Mobility in Spain. Burgos Case. Source: José María Diez, Article in the Magazine of the Mobility Observatory, Environment Ministry, September 2005 A video of the initiative in English can be find at the following address from youtube: A video of the Lord Mayor of the City receiving the Energy Globe Award can be find at the following address of youtube:




Europe and Central Asia



Sustainable Development Goals

Goal 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable


17 June 2020