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EU Urban Mobility Observatory
News article17 May 20241 min read

Bilbao sees 1 million fewer cars its streets in the first quarter of 2024 compared to 2019

The City of Bilbao has reported 1 million fewer vehicles entering its streets in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the same period in 2019, at pre-pandemic level. The figures report a decline in motorised traffic by 13.9%, whilst at the same time, increases in figures for public transport user numbers and trip data for other sustainable modes, showcasing a modal shift away from car use to other sustainable means. 

The main attribute that can be associated with this modal change taking place is Bilbao’s Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP). The plan was adopted in 2015 with a time horizon up to 2030. It seeks to promote mobility that is less dependent on the car and more inclined towards sustainable alternatives such as public transport, cycling and pedestrian mobility. The SUMP is updated every five years, and these updates are seen by all as crucial elements for reacting to changes and dynamics at shorter time scales, and not just as a mandatory exercise.

The next SUMP update is due soon, after 10 years of implementation. This will coincide with the establishment of a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) and the opening of a new series of citizen participation work connected to the two tasks.

Bilbao expects to reap the fruits of its sustainable urban mobility policy, aiming for a total reduction of 4 million vehicles compared to 2019 by the end of 2024. This projection not only reflects a change in the city's infrastructure, but also a modification in the mentality of its residents and their mobility patterns.



Publication date
17 May 2024
  • Traffic and demand management
  • Urban mobility planning
  • Spain