Spanish Sustainable Mobility Law makes progress

By Carla Giaume / Updated: 06 Jun 2022

The Spanish Government has approved the preliminary draft of the Sustainable Mobility Law (SML), which was presented by the national Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda (MITMA) on 22 March 2022. The draft SML recognises mobility as a right and aims to guarantee equality among people and territories, both in cities and rural areas. The preliminary draft urges all administrations to cooperate in order to grant this right to all people in Spain. For instance, the draft law sets an obligation for companies with over 500 workers to have a sustainable transport plan. The draft law will now be discussed by the Spanish Parliament and is expected to be approved in 2023.

The four pillars of the SML are:

  1. Mobility as a (social) right
  2. Active and healthy mobility
  3. A digital and innovative transport system
  4. Invest better for people’s needs

The draft SML requires cities with between 20,000-50,000 inhabitants to have a sustainable urban mobility plan (SUMP), which has to be reviewed at least every 5 years. Cities may impose fees on vehicles circulating in Low Emission Zones (LEZ). Municipalities with more than 50,000 inhabitants have the obligation to create an LEZ, as mandated by the Climate Change and Energy Transition Law. In addition, the draft SML offers the possibility to local authorities of establishing a fee to disincentivise the use of private vehicles.

The draft law underlines that active mobility - walking or cycling – are the healthiest options that are also zero emission. In this area, the logistics sector is increasingly contributing to reducing carbon emissions in the transport sector. The law requires SUMPs to include measures to rationalise freight distribution and encourages municipalities to establish homogeneous criteria in merchandise distribution systems to facilitate logistics, especially last-mile deliveries between neighbouring urban centres.

In short, the objective of the SML is to transform each Spanish city from being a 'city of cars' to a 'city of people'. Likewise, administrations will be encouraged to promote the most sustainable mobility solutions and the use of public transport, making the latter more functional and attractive. New mobility services proposed by the future law include the creation of integrated public transport systems, private collaborative mobility networks and shared mobility services.

To support these new services, a National Sustainable Mobility System (NSMS) will be implemented, which seeks to facilitate cooperation between the State, Autonomous Communities and municipalities in developing integrated transport and mobility policies, and to gather all information on transport supply and demand. This system will operate through a digital platform, the Integrated Mobility Data Space (EDIM), where data will be available to public administrations to support them with the definition and implementation of measures.

In addition, the new SML will require that public and private transport operators (bus, rail, airlines) for both people or goods calculate the greenhouse gas emissions of their transport services. Travellers must be informed of the carbon footprint of their journey when purchasing their ticket. The bill also proposes carrying out awareness campaigns on sustainable and safe mobility and contains measures to integrate road and sustainability training into the school curriculum. Finally, MITMA underlines that this sustainable transition will benefit companies, which could increase their productivity by up to 3.3%.

For more information on the draft law see the MITMA website.

Original article published by El Tiempo on 26 May 2022.

Photo Credit: © Fahroni - no permission to re-use image(s) without separate licence from Shutterstock.

Urban mobility planning