Andalucía's framework for a regional cycling plan (Spain)

By News Editor / Updated: 05 Dec 2014

At the end of 2012 Andalucía approved a regional plan defining a strategic framework to encourage cycling in regional, metropolitan and urban areas and contribute to environmental and sustainable mobility objectives.

Andalucía believes that the plan will increase cycling and provide numerous benefits, such as improved health and reduced worker absenteeism. By decreasing reliance on cars and public transport, it will also improve the environment and save energy and money.


Andalucía, with almost 8.5 million inhabitants, is the most populous autonomous community of Spain. Almost 40 per cent of its 87 000 km2 area is flat and about 55 per cent has slopes that are at gradients of less than 15 per cent.

These orographic characteristics and the year-long good weather are ideal for cycling. However, except for Seville, the share of people cycling daily in the region is low. In a typical working day, 57.5 per cent of people drive; 29 per cent walk; 6.8 per cent use public transport; 4.9 per cent ride motorcycles and only 1.4 per cent cycle.

An analysis of bicycle infrastructure and related services in Andalucía shows a lack of integrated planning, appropriate design and, due to scarce financial resources, insufficient finances.

In action 

The plan consists of the following strategic lines which are then translated into specific objectives at a regional, metropolitan and urban level:

  • Co-ordinating Andalucían initiatives and actions and integrating them into a common cycle network strategy;
  • Promoting intermodality with public transport by ensuring proper interchanges with the cycle network;
  • Co-ordinating the design and construction of the cycle network to avoid fragmentation;
  • Defining basic common technical criteria for design, construction, signalling and maintenance;
  • Understanding better bicycle mobility by collecting more information through periodic surveys;
  • Developing regulations that encourage cycling;
  • Implementing awareness-raising cycling campaigns;
  • Integrating development strategies into sectoral policies (e.g. tourism, employment, energy and environment, health and education, leisure and sport).

The plan, which requires a total investment of about € 420 million, will be implemented in  a number of phases:

A first phase, from 2014 to 2017, will create a basic network of urban and metropolitan cycle routes. These will be inside the main regional urban areas and committed to daily mobility, while the metropolitan networks extend around the main regional urban areas and provide connections between core and residential areas.

Between 2017 and 2018 a second phase will perform a mid-term review of the objectives and, if necessary, the investments.  A final phase, from 2018 to 2020, will see the creation of a regional cycling network. This network is intended for leisure, tourism and sports, and provides connections between the main cities of Andalucía as well as access to the most significant natural areas in Andalucía.

The plan will also involve stakeholders, especially cyclists, in its development and implementation. This includes the creation of a roundtable to:

  • Schedule stakeholder workshops to discuss measures to include in cycling promotion policies and the development of the plan;
  • Ensure a mechanism for broad and continuous participation so that citizens’ suggestions are properly taken into account;
  • Create a web portal to provide information and support to other citizens’ websites that promote cycling.

Andalucía believes that the plan will increase cycling to 10 per cent of the overall modal share in urban areas by 2020. Furthermore, it is assumed that 30 per cent of these new cyclists previously used a car; 38 per cent used PT; four per cent used motorcycles; and 28 per cent travelled on foot.

This modal shift will result in significant environmental benefits. Andalucía calculates that, per working day, the amount of greenhouse gases will be reduced by 710 tons of CO2 - an equivalent of almost € 2m[1] in energy consumption savings a year.

The bicycle plan will also save a minimum of 40 million litres of fuel a year, or 350 000 barrels of oil per year [2]. At $ 100 per oil barrel, that’s almost € 27m per year.

The expected health benefits are also positive. The reduction of worker absenteeism[3] , as more people cycle to work, will result in a saving of over € 30m a year. Increased cycling will also result in fewer car-accident fatalities and injuries.

Reductions in road congestion, exhaust emissions and noise will save an equivalent of more than € 90m per year[4]. Finally, considering that the average cost for using PT is € 35 a month, the estimated transition of 38 per cent of PT users into bicycle users will save them more than € 73m a year.

In total, Andalucía believes the benefits and savings amount to € 440m compared to the investment of € 420m in the plan.

Challenges, opportunities and transferability 

The implementation of the plan requires appropriate tools to co-ordinate the different planned measures, as well as tools to monitor and periodically evaluate the progress of works and identify possible corrective measures to adopt in case objectives are not being met.

To this aim, a specific administrative unit has been set up within the Ministry of Public Works and Housing, and the plan’s Monitoring Committee. This unit, which also communicates with stakeholders, will:

  • Co-ordinate the implementation of the plan at different levels and scales;
  • Foster relationships with other stakeholders related to cycling activities or infrastructure;
  • Co-ordinate the implementation of infrastructure (e.g. cycling paths and networks, signalling, maintenance, etc.);
  • Ensure compliance with the technical guidelines;
  • Define appropriate monitoring indicators which provide a clear picture of the situation and the evolution of the variables related to cycling in Andalucía;
  • Prepare periodic reports the Monitoring Committee;
  • Publish online an annual assessment of the plan.
In Depth 


Photo by Nuno Dantas / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


Walking and cycling
Southern Europe
Juan Carlos Millan
Marco Valerio Salucci
04 Dec 2014
05 Dec 2014