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An interview with Soledad Perlado Hergueta, National Coordinator for Spain

26 February 2020

What role do you play in the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK campaign?
The Spanish Ministry for ‘Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge’ has been responsible for organising the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK campaign in Spain since its inception, and provides local actors with technical assistance to develop and implement the campaign in their towns and cities.

Such technical assistance includes:

  • Developing communication techniques, and disseminating information about EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK in Spain, as well as disseminating any news related to sustainable mobility;
  • Adapting and translating campaign materials developed by the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK European Secretariat;
  • Creating communications material, such as our three annual bulletins, detailed final report with participation data, press releases, etc;
  • Managing, reviewing and approving municipality registrations on the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK website;
  • Providing technical assistance to companies, associations and municipalities;
  • Organising events, such as the National Awards and conferences to promote sustainable mobility.

Spain had a record-breaking year in 2019, registering the most cities, golden participants, and Car-Free Days. How did you achieve this?

Since the campaign was first launched in Spain, we have sought to integrate different actors and stakeholders (cities and towns, companies etc.) into the process. Therefore, the successes seen last year are in part the result of many years’ work.

From the beginning, we have given added value to the implementation of permanent measures, even making them a mandatory participation criterion for some years. This explains the large number of permanent measures implemented by Spanish municipalities throughout the years.

Additionally, the participation of companies, institutions, civil society organisations, etc. was encouraged through a charter of commitment.

Finally, EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK in Spain is organised through a pyramid structure, which includes autonomous communities, municipalities, and other national institutions such as the IDAE (Institute for Diversification and Saving of Energy), the General Directorate of Traffic, etc.

What do you think Spanish cities and towns gain from taking part in
On the one hand, cities and towns feel that by participating in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, they are working towards a common goal with other European municipalities. This helps them develop specific policies that, although sometimes viewed as being controversial (traffic closure, pedestrianization, etc.), are accepted by local residents as part of a common European policy.

On the other hand, cities and towns benefit from conceptual support for their sustainable urban mobility policy by the European Commission and the European Secretariat for EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, such as the Good Practice Guide.

In addition, the European nature of the campaign fosters a connection between participants from different countries, and enables networking and the exchange of knowledge and good practice. Many of the measures implemented in one municipality are replicable in others, so having an information bank, such as the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK website, with details of past participation, is a great resource for everyone.

Finally, through winning or even being nominated for the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK awards, municipalities gain important recognition at the European level.

Such recognition brings the work done by the administration to the attention of the local residents, and provides an impetus for cities and towns to implement new measures and further increase public awareness.

What are the main challenges that you faced in getting cities interested and engaged in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK in Spain?
The main challenge was the number of elections (national, regional, municipal and European) which took place last year.

Changing government and especially local administrations, in the months before the start of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, makes it difficult for towns and cities to participate.

Additionally, there are still a number of municipalities who participate with activities during the week, but do not register their formal participation on the campaign website. Therefore, they are not included in the participation data.

During last year’s campaign, we paid special attention to these cases, contacting those municipalities to communicate the importance and advantages of officially joining the campaign.

What are your hopes for the campaign in 2020 in Spain?
In 2020 I hope to:

  • Continue increasing the active involvement of municipalities, companies, institutions, civil society organisations and trade unions;
  • Get more municipalities to implement permanent measures, integrating them into their Urban Mobility Plans;· Expand our network of regional coordinators;
  • Ensure that the social aspect of sustainable mobility becomes more important, especially taking into account the theme of the 2020 EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK campaign (zero-emission mobility for all. Also, increase the importance of the Workplace Travel Plans, both in Spanish and European policies).
  • Promote a Technical Committee for the coordination of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK, which will serve as an advisory department for the further development of the project in Spain, and will be composed of different departments of the National Administration, companies, institutions, civil society organisations, the Autonomous Communities, etc.