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Von Admin Eltis / Aktualisiert: 20 Dec 2019

In Spain, municipalities are responsible for the preparation and implementation of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs - or as they are known in Spanish: Planes de Movilidad Urbana Sostenible (PMUS)). However, they are not mandatory, except for Cataluña, whose regional government passed a mobility law Lei 9/2003, de 13 de junio requiring their use.

Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs, Planes de Movilidad Urbana Sostenible - PMUS) in Spain are not mandatory, except in the region of Cataluña, whose regional government passed the Mobility Law. In any case, municipalities are responsible for the elaboration and implementation of the SUMPs.

However, even not being compulsory, there are a discrete number of Spanish municipalities which have implemented a SUMP. But in absence of a common agency, institution, observatory or other organisation in charge of monitoring the SUMPs, it is not easy – not to say impossible- to know exactly the number of SUMPs implemented in Spain. Estimates suggest around 200. To set a number, in the region of Madrid in 2011 there were 23 SUMPs implemented. Madrid’s municipal SUMP is currently under public consultation.

Much has been said on the need for national (or at least regional) legislation on SUMPs, but beyond some timid attempts, nothing has been done up to now - and it is rather unlikely anything will happen, particularly when in 2011 the national government passed a law linking the national funding for public transport to the implementation of a SUMP for cities with more than 100 000 people. Theoretically, this should encourage municipalities to adopt a plan, especially when all the former subsidies from the Ministry of Industry virtually disappeared several years ago due to the economic crisis.

However, urban transport planning in Spain consists more of sectorial plans rather than ‘global’ planning. Therefore, in the big cities (Madrid for instance) Madrid, for example, has separate plans for its public transport infrastructure, metro network extension, bus network, park and ride and bicycle schemes.



Legislative and / or regulatory basis for urban transport planning

In Spain, there are three levels of government: State, Region (Comunidades Autónomas) and Local (municipalities). At state level there is the following regulatory framework:

  • Ley 16/ 1987, de 30 de Julio, de Ordenación de los Transportes Terrestres (ES), at national level it applies to land transport throughout the national territory and long transport distances [1].
  • Ley Reguladora de Bases de Régimen Local – a national act that sets the responsibility of providing public transport for all the municipalities with more than 50 000 inhabitants.
  • Ley 2/2011 de 4 de marzo, de Economía Sostenible (ES).  See art. 101 (Los Planes de Movilidad Sostenible) and  art. 102. (Fomento de los Planes de Movilidad Sostenible). This law links the national funding for public transport [2] to the implementation of a SUMP for cities with more than 100 000 inhabitants. Theoretically, this should encourage municipalities to adopt a plan.
  • Ley 20/1998, de 27 de noviembre, de Ordenación y Coordinación de los Transportes Urbanos de la Comunidad de Madrid (ES)  - for regional urban transport planning. Each region has its own legislation on this. As an example, the Madrid case is included.
  • Ley 5/2009, de 20 de octubre, de Ordenación del Transporte y la Movilidad por Carretera (ES)  for regional transport in Madrid

At regional level, some regions such have adopted a multimodal approach, passing the following laws (then, mandatory):


  • SUMPs are mandatory in Cataluña, as stipulated in Lei 9/2003, de 13 de junio (CAT) (ES)


  • Ley 6/2011, de 1 de abril, de la Generalitat, de Movilidad de la Comunidad Valenciana (VAL/ES)


  • Proyecto de ley de movilidad sostenible (in Basque)


  • Anteproyecto de Lei Andaluza de Movilidad Sostenible (ES)

Finally, at local level, also mandatory, there are Ordenanzas Municipales which regulate the flows of people and vehicles. These kinds of regulations are, however, more related to mobility than to transport. Every municipality has its own, including Madrid: Ordenanza de Movilidad para la Ciudad de Madrid (ES)

Urban mobility planning guidance:

  • SUMPs: Practi­cal guide for the development and implementation of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (ES) [3]
  • There are some regions that have adopted Mobility Guidelines (not mandatory), such as Cataluña, Andalucia (ES) and the Basque Country. The Municipality of Madrid Mobility and Transport department has also produced guidelines (ES)

Plan Estratégico de Movilidad Sostenible de la Comunidad de Madrid (Madrid's Regional Strategic Plan for Sustainable Mobility) has not been published, nor is it available online. 

Main national support mechanisms:

  • IDAE (An agency of the Ministry of Industry – Ministerio de Industria) (However, since, 2012, subsidies coming from this Ministry do not apply longer to SUMPs, since all the funding has been earmarked for the car industry, especially everything involving the electric car).
  • Ministerio de Hacienda (Ministry of Finance), for the public transport subsidy to cities with more than 100 000 inhabitants.

[1] In 1996,  a decision of the Constitutional Court gave exclusive competences on urban transport to the Regions (Comunidades Autónomas)

[2]  Subsidies are given to the municipalities for running its public transport system according to the number of inhabitants.

[3] This is a non-binding guidance, and it was published by the National Energy Agency (IDAE, Instituto para la Diversificaci­ón y Ahorro de la Energía), in co-operation with the National Ministries  for transport and environment, the Association of Spanish Municipalities, and the Madrid Public Transport Authority (Consorcio Regional de Transportes de Madrid).