Montevideo: how a city becomes an icon of sustainable mobility

Montevideo has been, on several occasions, a finalist in the Smart City Awardan award given to “the most innovative companies, governments and organizations in mobilizing cities towards a better future”.

The Smart City Award values ​​aspects such as the fact that the city has implemented a global strategy to achieve progress that reflects an increase in the quality of life of its citizens through urban projects of sustainability, recovery of specific areas of a city or destinations smart tourist.

But, what is it that has led the city of Montevideo to be nominated for an award in this category and, above all, how is it preparing to improve more and more?

To begin with, it is necessary to know the reasons why Uruguay is developing a national plan for smart cities and territories. The reason is simple, it does so because of the global challenge of caring for the environment, especially as a result of the health and economic crisis caused by the covid-19 pandemic. And, also, to have a close relationship with its citizens, seeking to improve people’s quality of life through the use of appropriate technologies and in strengthening resilience and adaptation to climate change.

The most significant step was taken in 2015 with the creation of the Department of Sustainable and Intelligent Development. With this came the obtaining of information through surveys on digital citizenship.

The other two major measures were the National Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change in Cities and Infrastructures and, of course, the strategic mobility plan for Montevideo.

Strategic mobility plan for Montevideo

In the development of this ad-hoc program for the capital, six objectives were established for the 2015-2022 period that may be the key to the success of Montevideo as a sustainable city. These objectives are:

  • Promote an efficient, sustainable and safe mobility system.
  • The development of sustainable environmental initiatives.
  • Strengthen social inclusion and coexistence.
  • Promote a model of sustainable and innovative development.
  • Strengthen the relationship with citizens.
  • Carry out a cultural transformation towards efficient, innovative and transparent management.

These objectives are translated into practical actions such as improving traffic circulation and road safety, managing a waste collection control system, including human rights and gender equality perspectives, promoting the resilience of Montevideo, Wi-Fi points for spaces public and internal management applications and for citizens.

And what are the plans for the future? The government already manages initiatives around three keys: quality of life, innovation and sustainability.

Quality of life

To promote health care, the construction of new bicycle lanes, pedestrian streets and the availability of public bicycles are already being studied.

In turn, the use of electric or renewable energy vehicles, shared cars, accessibility for people with physical disabilities or the development of mobile applications that report public transport schedules in real time are promoted.

Quality of life is not only measured in mobility, but also in health, security and privacy, governance and management. Within these other three sections, in Uruguay, in general, and in Montevideo, in particular, measures will be taken such as the creation of an emergency service number in the city (to notify of a downed power cable or an uncovered sewer ), make smart traffic lights or build educational radars to make the driver aware of the speed at which he is driving.


Regarding innovation, the government will focus on different dimensions, for example, the promotion of employment, digital inclusion, smart tourism and technology applied to rural areas. Specifically, this will lead to the development of actions such as: virtual tourist experiences, literacy programs, having Wi-Fi points deployed throughout the city or promoting startups in Montevideo.


Lastly, and of course, a central point is the sustainability of the city, and all that this entails: urban and territorial management, the environment, fiscal intelligence and education.

When it comes to putting this into action, the idea is to carry out initiatives such as an early warning system for floods, smart lighting, self-cleaning toilets, developing a management system for construction permits or creating student homes.

These are just some of the measures that will be taken, but there are many more and, who knows, maybe they will lead to Montevideo being awarded the prize for the smartest and most sustainable city in the not so distant future.

Writing of The Reason Behind.

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