As a growing city in the neighbourhood of the Spanish capital, Rivas Vaciamadrid adopted in 2010 a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) to face both the dramatic increase of population in the town and to connect with Madrid. The municipality paid particular attention to social, environmental and economic aspects of mobility and obtained the 2013 European SUMP Award as a reward.
The unique increase of the population of Rivas Vaciamadrid between 1980 and 2013 – from 500 to 80 000 inhabitants - implied major changes in the mobility conditions in the city. While the inhabitants were mostly attracted by Madrid for work, studies or leisure in the Eighties, they now have activities in Rivas Vaciamadrid as it consolidated as a city of tertiary sector employment, providing education and leisure centres as well. Through its SUMP the municipality of Rivas Vaciamadrid should therefore ensure the mobility of its citizens on its own territory and also allow a consequent part of its population to commute towards the capital (commuters still represented approximately 40 per cent of the population in 2013). The SUMP is intended to help the city to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent between 2008 and 2020 and to make the city carbon neutral by 2030.
Social, environmental and economic aspects are at the very core of Rivas Vaciamadrid SUMP. Within the elaboration and implementation phases of the SUMP, the municipality has systematically stressed the importance of these criteria. By way of example, during the preparation phase, the municipality conducted a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats) analysis including a series of social, economic and environmental aspects. For instance, the needs and preferences of the population, the accessibility of transport (social), the needs of industrial and commercial stakeholders (economic) as well as the energy consumption and the air pollution (environmental) were considered in the ex-ante evaluation. In addition, before implementing major measures, both economic and environmental feasibility studies have been carried out.
Regarding the implementation phase, the implementation of every action of the SUMP has been accompanied by an environmental, economic and social assessment. The sustainability of the measures was assessed as well. A wide range of stakeholders including local politicians, NGOs, transport operators and different representative groups (cyclists, pedestrians, transport users, disabled people) took part in the sustainable assessment of the SUMP measures.
In order to enhance this inclusive approach, which takes into account different areas related to mobility and transport, the mobility department of the municipality has worked together with several other departments. First of all, the environmental sustainability of the plan has been ensured thanks to the strong collaboration between the mobility and environment departments which form together the Area of Environment & Mobility. Furthermore, the preparation of the SUMP has been a constant dialogue between the mobility departments and departments in charge of safety; education; health; children and youth; elderly people; sports; and social welfare.
As results of the inclusive policy led by the municipality and its diverse departments, several measures of the SUMP have definitely given a push to other policies (social, economic and/or environmental) than simply the mobility policy of Rivas Vaciamadrid. By way of example, the municipality included in the SUMP the promotion of the Health Circuits. The measure intends to develop the use of walking and cycling paths in parks and forest areas for mobility reasons. In involving and targeting children and pupils, elderly and disabled people, this measure has a strong social impact, both on the accessibility and the health of the targeted audiences. In addition, in promoting active mobility, the Health Circuits contribute to both environmental efforts and the improvement of mobility.
Likewise, through the participation in different international campaigns such as the European Mobility Week, the World Environment Day or the Tree Day, the municipality takes the opportunity to communicate on the links between mobility and environment. This type of events has strong social (through education) and environmental (through awareness-raising and punctual measures) impacts alongside with mobility effects.
In addition to the promotion of the Health Circuits, the SUMP played a role in the development of a mobile app for booking shared taxis. Considering the current lack of major public transport networks, this measure has a positive environmental effect as it reduces the number of private cars and increases the occupancy rate of vehicles. The measure can also be seen from the social point of view: the accessibility is increased thanks to reduced taxi fares and the provision of a new service. Finally, the measure supports the local economy: 260 professional taxis are part of the agreement.