Planning sustainable mobility for people and goods in the metropolitan territory


Mobility is one of the challenges of the future in terms of competitiveness and sustainability of the metropolitan territory. With the establishment of the AMB, the competencies for transport and mobility now cover 36 municipalities, which is tantamount to planning and managing the mobility of 3.2 million inhabitants, entailing 10.6 million daily trips using several means of transport.

The task of the AMB is governed by solid and flexible planning tools. Particularly, it is important to highlight urban mobility plans that are drafted by the municipalities in collaboration with the AMB. One level higher than these plans is the Metropolitan urban mobility plan, a powerful coordination tool when it comes to defining the metropolitan mobility policy. During the 2011-2015 mandate, studies have been carried out to come up with a diagnosis that will allow reaching and drafting a full Plan in the next few months.

The AMB also promotes sustainable means of transport through several actions:
  • Developing the Bicibox bike parking service
  • Creating subsidies for electric bikes and vehicles available for citizens and for town councils.
  • Expanding the network of quick recharge posts for electric vehicles in the metropolitan area, in coordination with the posts installed around the city of Barcelona.
Information on mobility is one of the key elements, and has continued to be managed through the public company Cetramsa. In this field, it is important to highlight:
  • The redevelopment of the corporate web page
  • New tools to communicate with citizens: creating Apps for bus, taxi and Bicibox services.
The drafting of the Metropolitan urban mobility plan (PMMU) responds to the mandate set forth in Law 31/2010 adopted by the Catalan Parliament, leading to the creation of the AMB. It is also a consequence of the desire to plan and manage mobility in the metropolitan area in a coordinated manner and with a supra-municipal approach. For this reason, the AMB governing body established the goal of starting to draft the PMMU in the 2011-2015 Action programme.

Currently, all 36 municipalities in the metropolitan territory are drafting urban mobility plans (PMUs), some of which have entered an advanced stage, and others are still at the drafting stage. The AMB participates actively in the whole process to ensure a coordinated planning and an integrating approach. It is also important to stress that the PMUs are the starting point to establish the process of drafting the Metropolitan urban mobility plan.

The Metropolitan plan, which started to be drafted in 2014, will take mobility into account in all its dimensions and in an integrated way: public transport, pedestrians and cyclists, private vehicles, logistics and goods, the use of communication and information technologies, environmental sustainability, etc. The approach used for this task is metropolitan, to provide answers to the issues that go beyond the strictly municipal sphere, and to make the different local policies contained in the respective PMUs coherent.

The drafting of the Metropolitan urban mobility plan is the chance to work together to reach a diagnosis on the main metropolitan mobility problems and design the main strategies for the future. All of this has the aim of advancing towards a fair, environmentally sustainable and economically efficient mobility.

More information
Metropolitan Urban Mobility Plan drafting process
Municipal urban mobility plans
PMMU publications, 1 (cat)
PMMU publications, 2 (cat)
The AMB has been assigned competencies to promote sustainable transport, and upon delegation from the town councils, to coordinate and manage services that complement mobility and that entail a special or exclusive use of streets and roads.

To progress in the new scenario of promoting sustainability, at the end of 2013 started the process to draft the 2014-2015 Sustainable mobility programme, adopted by the Metropolitan Council on 25th March 2014. The actions included in this programme, amounting to €2,650,000, are grouped in four sub-programmes:
  • Promoting the use of bicycles.
  • Promoting the use of electric vehicles.
  • Adapting streets and roads to sustainable mobility.
  • Improving information given to users.
It is important to take into account that this is not an exclusive programme, but rather a crosscutting action: other plans and actions from different departments within the AMB reinforce the promotion of sustainable mobility.

The sub-programme to adapt streets and roads to sustainable mobility has a budgetary allocation of €890,000 and plans for the adaptation and signposting of several intercity roads with bus and bike lanes, such as:
  • Road C-245, from Castelldefels to Cornellà de Llobregat.
  • The Diagonal Avenue, from Barcelona to Esplugues de Llobregat.
The AMB Public Space department is in charge of developing projects and implementing them. The adaptation and signposting of bike lanes has been done taking into consideration the conclusions of the "Study on inter-city connections by bike in the field of the Bicibox service". Other actions contained in this sub-programme are the installation –together with the town councils that have requested it– of advanced platforms for bus stops and the publication, in September 2014, of the "Manual on designing urban roads and streets for sustainable mobility".

The Sub-programme to improve the information given to users, with an allocation of €125,000, has served to:
  • Improve live information by installing dynamic panels at intermodal facilities and areas with high mobility, such as hospitals and public buildings.
  • Develop new versions of the AMBtempsbus application that provide useful information to the users of metropolitan buses, and the AppBicibox application, that allow users to find out the availabile space in Bicibox modules.
The two remaining sub-programmes (promoting the use of bicycles, with a budget of €415,000; and promoting the use of electric vehicles, with a budget of €1,220,000) are the two main areas within the 2014-2015 Sustainable mobility programme, and are detailed as follows.

More information
App AMBtempsbus
Public space
Manual on designing urban roads and streets for sustainable mobility (cat)
  • Promoting electric vehicles
    Quick recharging point
    Quick recharging point for electric vehicles in Viriat street in Barcelona (November 2014)
    The sub-programme for the promotion of electric vehicles is the one with the highest budgetary allocation within the Sustainable mobility programme, with €1.22 million.

    During 2013, the metropolitan municipalities have seen the first actions to promote the use of purely electric vehicles and their benefits. Among these actions, the most important ones have been:
    • The adoption of the Collaboration Framework Agreement between Nissan, the City Council of Barcelona, and the Barcelona Metropolitan Area, for the joint promotion of electric vehicles for taxis and for the urban distribution of goods, which was signed in Frankfurt in September 2013.
    • The publication of the "Metropolitan guide for the promotion of Electric Vehicles", coinciding with the 27th International Electric Vehicle Symposium & Exhibition (EVS27) held in Barcelona.
    • Temporary leasing of electric vehicles to town councils (as of September 2014). The AMB has managed the temporary leasing of pure electric vehicles of different models (passenger cars and vans) to the metropolitan town councils for periods of two to three months. These vehicles have been used for different municipal tasks and have allowed municipal workers and authorities to become familiar with electric mobility, while contributing to improve the quality of air in metropolitan cities and towns.
    • AMB subsidies for town councils to purchase a pure electric vehicle: these subsidies are used to subsidise 50% (up to €10,000 per vehicle) of the price of around 20 pure electric vehicles for some twenty metropolitan town councils.
    • Drafting of the Study on municipal incentives to promote the use of electric vehicles by the AMB (March 2014). The goal of this study is to inform of the incentives that town councils already implemented to promote electric mobility, and to then make a proposal on which of these incentives should be generalised and under what conditions, to establish a common framework on a metropolitan scale.
    The AMB has also undertaken the development of its network of electric recharge posts. The following actions have been carried out:
    • Rolling out ten tri-standard recharge posts (Mennekes, CHAdeMO and Combo CSS) in the metropolitan territory. The AMB started to roll out these posts after installing the two first posts in El Prat de Llobregat and in Cornellà de Llobregat during the first quarter of 2015. The AMB is in charge of their operation and maintenance for five years by tendering the service to a specialised company.
    • The City Council of Barcelona, during the third quarter of 2014, installed seven of the 10 recharging posts it committed to, as well as three additional ones through other municipal initiatives.
    For two years, the AMB and the City Council of Barcelona will provide free electricity to all the AMB network of electric recharging posts to promote the implementation of electric vehicles, especially electric taxis.

    More information
    Metropolitan guide for the promotion of Electric Vehicles (cat)
  • Promoting the use of bicycles
    Electric bicycles
    Electric bicycles lent by the AMB for free to the Town Council of Montada i Reixac (November 2014)

    Bearing in mind that the actions to adapt the streets and roads to sustainable mobility already include projects to increase and complete the metropolitan network of bike lanes, this sub-programme has focused on improving the services provided to bike users.

    A new "Bike Guide" has been published, presenting the bike lane network of the 36 metropolitan municipalities in two maps: Northern Area and Southern Area. At the beginning of 2015 the definite edition was published. A digital and navigable version can be checked out on the AMB website.

    To promote the use of bicycles, especially in municipalities with Bicibox, at the same time, the Plan to boost the use of bicycles (2012) was set up, containing the following actions:
    • Study on the inter-municipal connections by bike in the scope of the Bicibox service (March 2013): identifying 20 sections that are not conveniently adapted and render inter-municipal connections by bike difficult in the Baix Llobregat. The study also envisages possible solutions.
    • Publication of the Bike Guide: a map showing the network of bike lanes and pacified streets, as well as the location of the 130 Bicibox modules in the 12 municipalities that provided this service in May 2013. 50,000 copies of this guide were printed and distributed to the town councils offering the Bicibox service.
    As for the promotion of electric bicycles, the AMB has carried out the following actions:
    • Purchasing 102 electric bicycles that will be leased to metropolitan town councils after they submit a request to the AMB. The goal of this action is to allow municipal workers to move around in a more sustainable way, whether it is for work or to travel from their homes to work.
    • In addition to the previous action, in November 2014 a campaign was launched to subsidise the purchase of electric bikes for residents in the AMB. For the purchase of a bike (costing under €1,250) the AMB contributes €250. This campaign, managed together with shops that joined the plan and collaborating entities, has had two stages with 500 bikes each, and will continue until the middle of 2015.
    At the start of the mandate, the project for new and secure Bicibox bike parking spaces (a service that is complementary to the metropolitan public transport) has been designed and the modules had been constructed, and was moving into the implementation stage and starting operations.

    On 18th July 2011 the first Bicibox module was installed in Sant Joan Despí, followed by the modules installed in Sant Boi de Llobregat, Cornellà de Llobregat, Esplugues de Llobregat, Sant Just Desvern and El Prat de Llobregat. By March 2012 there were 1,316 bike spaces up and running in 11 municipalities in the Baix Llobregat. In October 2012 Sant Cugat del Vallès also joined the network.

    Installation of a Bicibox
    Installation of a Bicibox module in Sant Joan Despí (2011)

    2013 was the first year when the Bicibox service was completely operational. Also, in October that same year, a new stage of renovation started, influenced by the change in the franchise company in charge of the maintenance and operation of the service infrastructures.

    In February 2015 works started to build 10 new Bicibox modules with 14 spaces each, since there were no more modules to meet the requests of the town councils.

    The new modules are constructed following a new design –developed by the technicians of the Public Space department– with improvements to the previous model in key aspects:
    • The impact on the urban environment has been minimised with a smaller dimension.
    • The structure has been reinforced and safer aluminium sheet doors have been included.
    • The solar panel has been re-dimensioned and there is more space for the batteries, to ensure the supply of electricity.
    • The electric plates have been re-dimensioned and the software has been improved, to allow for the installation of security cameras or points to recharge the batteries of electric bikes.
    new Bicibox project
    The project for the new secure Bicibox bike-parking module (2014)

    These new modules will be used to increase the AMB municipal service and to reinforce the number of available parking spaces in places with a higher demand.

    Although the number of available spaces is practically the same as in recent years, in 2012 48,000 bikes were parked in the Bicibox modules, 83,000 in 2013 and almost 125,000 in 2014, confirming the consolidation of this service. During 2014 there were more than 3,500 registered users.

    The average monthly demand in 2014 was 10,400 parked bicycles, and considerably higher during the spring and autumn. In October a new monthly record was set with over 15,000 bicycles parked.

    The last increase in supply for the Bicibox service entailed the installation of four modules (49 parking spaces) in the municipality of Cerdanyola del Vallès (June 2014).

    New Bicibox module
    New Bicibox module next to the Town Council of Cerdanyola del Vallès (June 2014)

    During this period some of the modules were relocated to optimize the supply with regards to the demand observed and to provide the service to new areas in demand, such as terminals T1 and T2 at the Barcelona – El Prat Airport.

    More information
    Cycling Network of the metropolitan area of Barcelona (North)
    Cycling Network of the metropolitan area of Barcelona (South)
    Cycling Network of the metropolitan area of Barcelona (web version)