What’s unique about the initiative?

For decades, Valencia was a city that revered motor vehicles and boasted about the quantity and fluidity of its traffic. However, in the summer of 2015, the municipal authorities took a step towards reversing this situation. The climate emergency scenario demanded it, but also the desire to improve the quality of life of its inhabitants, who, with the promotion of cycling and the new pedestrianisation, save energy and improve their economy.

Most outstanding results

Valencia is a city where public space  once again belongs to citizens, rather than cars, and people are no longer pedestrians. The sustainable mobility promoted by Valencia City Council has brought about ambitious and fundamental changes that generate individual and collective health. Apart from urban planning focused on responding to the climate emergency, it is necessary to change living habits, reduce travel and encourage local consumption.

Certain stretches of Valencia’s cycle network of almost 170 kilometres see around 7,000 vehicles per day, and the use of this sustainable mode of transport has increased by 21% in the last year. According to calculations by the Department of Sustainable Mobility, each kilometre of cycle lane represents an energy saving of 0.214%. Since the approval in 2013 of the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (PMUS) until now, the cycling network in Valencia has grown by 44 kilometres – 36% – which, added to the nine kilometres planned for next year, will mean an energy saving of 11% by 2023.

Although the city’s first cycle lane was built in 1982, the network has since undergone not only mileage extensions, but also improvements to the route, safety and parking facilities that have led to more and more people opting for this mode of transport: it is estimated that three out of every ten people cycling on the network in 2021 were previously commuting by private car.

The criteria applied to determine the areas where cycle lanes are to be provided were the aforementioned SUMP, the result of the proposals made by the public in the participatory budgets and requests made by the council itself in the annual budgets.

The majority of people who move around the city do so on foot (around 50%), by bicycle (6%) or by public transport (16%): only around 15% use private vehicles to move around the city.

Quote from the evaluation committee

“The political leadership is key in this project. The municipality engaged with the inhabitants to create a cultural shift with local communities. Valencia is tackling climate change through a very concrete and tangible measure that is changing the landscape and use of the city, giving space to soft power and sustainable mobility. The experience can be easily reproduced in others contexts.”

– Amanda Flety


To know more, read this in-depth article. Also, you can scroll down to download the application form filled by this initiative to take part in the Transformative Cities award.