San Sebastioan (ES)

San Sebastian is located on the coast of the Bay of Biscay and in the vicinity of the French border. It is the capital of the province of Guipúzcoa in the Autonomous Community of Basque Country and has a population of 185,000 inhabitants. Its metropolitan area with 435,000 inhabitans, which includes a number of nearby municipalities has an area of 372.86 square kilometers.

Half of the population lives in the flat area of the city and the other half at high altitudes.

To ensure a healthy growth over the years policies on sustainable mobility have been introduced.

The objective for this better sustainable mobility is a  final transport model based on a firm commitment to non-motorized modes and the use of the public transport. The modal split of the city is as follows:

  • 49 % of the population moves walking
  •  4 % of the population goes by bicyle
  • 17 % travel by bus
  •  22 % moves by car
  •  8 % in other modes of transport as train, motorbike...

The city of Donostia / San Sebastián has worked for the past 25 years with the aim of promoting the use of non-motorized transport, pedestrians and  bicycles, and public transport with the goal of reducing the use of private vehicles and thus transforming the city into  a friendly and safe environment for citizens. To achieve these objectives the first steps taken in the city have been:

  • the bicycle and pedestrian networks
  • and the new road planning

It is noteworthy thatmost of the distances in the city can be done walking or by bicycle. And moreover the provision of these cyclepaths is essential and helps a lot when considering the redistribution of goods by cargo bikes.

Donostia / San Sebastián, is recognized in Europe as a city with a special sensitivity to sustainable mobility, where pedestrians and cyclists have a strong presence and with one of higher ratios of use of public transport of the continent (more than 150 trips per user - year). The contribution to the European framework of mobility has been extended in programs like Civitas, Aeneas, Snowball or Quest. Currently we are working in other European projects like SmartCem, Tide and Site. And now, since 2014, we participate in two new projects,Cyclelogistics Ahead and Switch, in which the City Council, through the Mobility Department, will continue its contribution to improve the quality of life of citizens in Donostia / San Sebastián.

In 2009 the European Union selected San Sebastian to participate in-CIVITAS Archimedes Project along with Brighton in England, Aalborg in Denmark, Monza in Italy, Usti nad Labem in the Czech Republic and Iasi in Romania.

For the duration of the project CIVITAS ARCHIMEDES a model of efficient distribution of products was implemented in the city, which was adjusted to the needs of urban reality and tried this will lead a positive impact on citizens and the environment.

Reducing the miles made by trucks and increasing the ratio of loading them has resulted in a decrease in the total fuel consumed and the number of journeys made by car.

In addition a system of access control in the Old Town has been established , to regulate them and reduce the number of vehicles that had access to this area . Specific areas for loading and unloading times were defined, one way streets were changed and access control using cameras were installed.

On the other hand it has favored the establishment of a distribution company, TXITA, with ciclocargos last mile, for the replacement of combustion vehicles for urban distribution in the center and the Old Town.

This measure was intended to minimize the environmental impact of transport in the city. At the strategic level, the aim has been to increase the efficiency of goods distribution in the city center in order to reduce the number of commercial vehicles within the outlets downtown and in the industrial areas.

Today the company TXITA continues to operate and manages itself. The CIVITAS project could financially help Txita to be established in the city and begin a career in a distribution center that is in a neighborhood close to downtown.


With Cyclelogistics Ahead project, there are several things San Sebastian hopes to accomplish.

As more clear steps we think we can carry out, I would highlight the followings:

  • Setting-up a local cooperation platform to enable efficient networking between releevant stakeholders in the field of near zero emisiions urban logistics with some meetings dureing the project lifetime.
  • We want to stablish a micro consolidation centre.
  • There must be a change in terms of legislation to encourage companies to make their transport in a sustainable manner, punishing those who fail and set some kind of rules governing the distribution of goods
  • We want to Favouring ZEL in municipal procurement procedures and also encourage departments to include clean vehicles in their fleets.
  • Negotiations with express courier companies through platforms such as the chamber of commerce for at least the last mile is done by cargo bikes. We emphasize that most other distributions are made by clean vehicles.
  • International Know-how exchange and networking regarding zero emissions logistics since it is an essential element in order to grow in this topic
  • Empowerment/Professionalization/Extension of existing Cycle logistics applications
  • Awareness raising regarding green logistics among end users since it is the basis for changing the mindset of users to educate on sustainability policies
  • Stepwise phasing out of polluting vehicles
  • Trace new services susceptible to develop by bicycles or electric vehicles