Pontevedra study visit on urban road safety 2024

A Portuguese delegation with representatives from the National Road Safety Authority (ANSR) and the Mirandela Municipality, led by the vice-president of ANSR Ana Tomaz, accompanied by ETSC, travelled to Pontevedra, Spain, on 10-11 April as part of a study visit on the topic of urban road safety.

The visit was co-organised with the Municipality of Pontevedra, in the framework of the EU Road Safety Exchange project. It included meetings with traffic experts at the city hall, a walking tour of the city with on-site explanations of various infrastructure solutions, as well as a visit of the local police of Pontevedra and observation of school routes.

The mayor Miguel Anxo Fernández Lores, in office since 1999, welcomed the delegation and shared his vision and the journey behind transforming Pontevedra in a city for people, not for cars.

Daniel Macenlle, the city’s director general of Citizen Protection, presented the urban model adopted by Pontevedra, including generalised 30 km/h speed limits or less, traffic calming measures, priority for active mobility modes (walking, cycling), restricted car traffic to the strictly necessary, and concentration of parking places in underground parking or on the outskirts of the city.

In the afternoon, the group experienced first-hand the results of the measures presented, with a guided walking tour of the city. The de facto priority of the people walking and cycling over cars was evident throughout the city, resulting in a vibrant urban area filled with pedestrians of all ages and a general feeling of safety when using the public roads.

All the streets have been or are currently being improved to follow the principles of traffic calming. Speed bumps and roundabouts are two of the most evident and tools used to create safer and more welcoming spaces, but there are various other measures being implemented: reductions in traffic density, car lane narrowing and reduced speed limits throughout the city.

On the second day, the Portuguese delegation got to know the way “School routes” work in Pontevedra. The scheme is devoted to the promotion of children’s independence by creating the ideal safety conditions for them to go to school walking on their own.

The local police force supervises the organisation and effectiveness of the mobility system in Pontevedra. A visit to the police station showed how the traffic is monitored and how traffic rules, including parking restrictions, are enforced.

The participants were impressed with the results obtained by the city in terms of mobility, safety and quality of life and were keen to take back some of the good practice discussed and adapt the same principles to Mirandela and other cities.

EU Road Safety Exchange is funded by the European Parliament and led by the European Commission. The project is managed by ETSC on behalf of the European Commission.