The city of Donostia-San Sebastian in the Basque Country in northern Spain is home to over 180,000 inhabitants. The city overlooks the sea in a spectacular bay embraced by small mountains. The beautiful beaches are located right in the city centre and attract inhabitants and visitors alike for sunbathing, surfing and other water sports. The splendour of the manor buildings from the Belle Époque and the attractive pedestrian areas, round off the city’s charm. The welcoming and friendly city also attracts visitors with its passion for good food. From the miniature cuisine of the “pintxos” to the restaurants of the creative cuisine masters, good eating is one of Donostia-San Sebastian's commandments. The city is the capital of the Gipuzkoa province and the centre of a metropolitan area with around 400,000 inhabitants.
For about 20 years now Donostia-San Sebastian has been applying integrated policies favouring pedestrians, cyclists and public transport. By reducing the on street parking and returning the public space to pedestrians the city managed to become an even more attractive place to be. A major achievement of the mobility policy is the establishment of a pedestrian network that makes most of the city reachable on foot through promenades, vertical transport aids and a pedestrian axis. Before the CIVITAS ARCHIMEDES project, the city already had a cycling network of 28 kilometres. The municipal public transport operator, DonostiaBus has been implementing an ambitious set of measures to further increase the high bus patronage.
In 2002, 48 per cent of urban trips were made on foot, 28 per cent by private car, 18 per cent by public transport and 6 per cent by other modes including cycling. The progress towards sustainable transport has been underpinned by extensive public debate that led to the creation of a permanent channel for stakeholder participation called the Consejo Asesor de Movilidad. This Mobility Advisory Board provides a forum for reviewing and approving the Civic Mobility Pact 1999, which is being endorsed by social, institutional and financial stakeholders.
Donostia-San Sebastian regards CIVITAS ARCHIMEDES as a perfect opportunity to expand its sustainable urban transport strategy. Within the ARCHIMEDES project, the city particularly wants to maintain the high modal share of walking and increase bicycle use by 30 percent. Infrastructure for cycling and walking will be extended including the intro¬duction of lifts and an escalator to encou¬rage walking and cycling in hilly areas. The number of cars entering the city centre is to fall by 10 percent compared to 2006, while the number of public transport users is expected to rise with one million extra passengers on buses, an increase of 5 percent. Moreover, Donostia-San Sebastian aims to curb the number of accidents and cut down on the use of fossil fuels in public transport.