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What is urban mobility? 

Urban mobility is all of the movements of both people and goods that occur in a city via public or private transportation. 

What types of urban mobility are there?

The ways to get around in cities may be non-motorized (pedestrians,  bicycles, scooters, skating, etc.) or motorized (motorbike, car, van, trailer, bus, trolley, metro, etc.), and they usually form a complex network. The most common modes of transportation are:

Pedestrian: this mode is primarily used for short journeys, and its popularity is determined by the size of the city. In recent decades, it has been increasingly displaced by the loss of public space to infrastructure and vehicular traffic. In recent years, though, there has been a return to urban pedestrianization for environmental reasons and quality of life.

Private vehicle (car or motorbike): since it emerged, the car has been a symbol of status, autonomy, and comfort, but over time, it has become a leading sound and air pollutant, as well as being responsible for urban traffic problems.

This mode of transportation has entailed significant changes at social, economic, and morphological levels in cities. 

Public transit: these may be public or private, and the possibility of implementing these solutions depends on the city’s features. Generally, there are three types:

  1. Bus: this is the mode of transit with the lowest capacity and speed. It is usually used for short journeys, often to get to higher-speed modes or from those modes to residential areas that aren’t so crowded. 
  2. Metro: this is considered the most efficient because it doesn’t take up land surface (it is usually underground), it can transport large numbers of people at once, it doesn’t depend on the traffic levels for other modes of transportation, and it isn’t affected by weather conditions.
  3. Railway: its development is due to the robust processes of suburbanization in the metropolitan peripheries.

What are urban mobility projects?

Urban mobility plans aim to promote safer transportation that’s more sustainable, competitive, and universal. They’ve been developed to respond to the needs of displacement in large cities; their main challenges are environmental pollution and optimizing the time that citizens spend in daily commuting.

Urban mobility plans seek more sustainable mobility, focusing on environmental protection and quality of life. Traffic management platforms, mobility apps, the introduction of new smart and sustainable vehicles (electric, hybrid, connected, self-driving, etc.) are some of the ways a smart city can come up with an effective urban mobility plan.

A sustainable urban mobility plan is usually carried out in four distinct phases: diagnosing the current situation, setting goals, designing the measures to achieve those goals, and establishing the indicators for monitoring the actions.

Some of the most common measures for improving urban mobility are disincentivizing private transportation, promoting public transit, efficient traffic management, and encouraging alternative modes of transportation. Other measures may focus on saving energy by fostering improvements in public and private transportation vehicles or efficient driving, for instance.

What benchmarks for urban mobility are there in Spain?

In Spain, sustainable urban mobility plans (PMUS) have been developed. These comprise a set of actions aimed at implementing more sustainable forms of travel at the municipal level.

Citizens’ new habits, technological disruption, taking care of the environment, and heavy traffic in cities are giving rise to new forms of mobility that are cleaner, more efficient, and sustainable. Thanks to Ferrovial’s experience in developing and operating transportation infrastructure, the company has been able to provide innovative mobile services that adapt to the market’s new demands and to users’ actual needs.

Fun facts about urban mobility

  • Blaise Pascal, the mathematician who invented the first calculator in history, created the precursor of mass transit systems.
  • The Urban Mobility Index evaluated 84 major cities around the world on a scale from 0 to 100. The average rating was 43.9 points. The highest-scoring city was Hong Kong, with 58.2 points (well below the top score of 100).
  • In Spain’s major cities, the average commute on a workday is between 70 and 100 minutes.

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