Pontevedra has ceased to be a space invaded by cars. Today is an eco-city an international benchmark for urban quality and sustainability.
The transformation of the urban space meant boosting the economy from being seen through new opportunities for leisure, creativity and management of revitalized businesses or those that were emerging in the new scenarios.
Before, the car was the king, it was at the top of the priorities. Today, the situation has changed radically, placing people above the machines.
The motor traffic in Pontevedra was due to the following 3 main reasons:
• Cars that cross the city as if it were a shortcut
• Cars that arrive to the city and spend time and fuel looking for parking
• Cars that need to enter the city
At first definition stages, the people were the most important of all the elements that influence mobility, thus the great urban reform of Pontevedra began: pedestrianization, pedestrian circuits, wider lanes, lifeguards, widths reduced for cars, etc. Each work was also used to renovate the basement and provide new services to buildings.
Thus, the City had to check how many cars were really necessary for the correct operation of the city. The result was that very few. The rest had to be left out (in the free parking lots on the edge) or parked nuts. In the city there are fewer cars, but it is just as operative and even more attractive to everyone.
The healthiest and most natural of all the means of transport that human beings have at their disposal, walking is the most natural, healthy and effective. Moving in a radius of one to three km

Resources needed

Pontevedra focused on one overarching project by means of which the existing local resources, as well as those coming from other administrations, were channelled into making urban quality better. ressources from EU, national and regional Administration were pooled.

Evidence of success

Reduction of 92% of motorized transport in the city center. Reduction of 77% of motorized transport in the main city ring. Reduction of 56% of motorized transport in the overall city.
Motorized transport coming from outside the city usually parks in border parking (MOTO: Aparca y camina), motorized transport crossing the city has new infrastructure to border the city and not get into it, and most of the cars that were used in the city don’t move at all now (In 1997 were registered 52.000.

Difficulties encountered

Especially at the beginning, the urban model created understandable fears among some people, who were convinced to see that the city was working more beautiful than before. But there were also people and social sectors that supported this process, making it possible.

Potential for learning or transfer

There are numerous demands to the Town hall for participation in congresses and meetings on the various topics of urban management, both at the Galician, Spanish, and European levels.
Of course, to promote the transfer of this good practice, money is needed, but as well; a very important commitment form the administration is needed, to learn about the right policies to implement, and to deal with citizens while applying these changes (which are not always welcomed).
Thus, this Good Practice can be applied in any European City following the policies and philosophy implemented by Pontevedra, and when fund raising is needed, there are currently different European calls (mainly ERDF) in which the specific actions of this good practice can be funded.

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Main institution
Pontevedra Town Hall
Galicia, Spain (España)
Start Date
June 1999
End Date


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