Smart City

New technologies for improving metropolitan functionality


The innovative notion of a smart city and the new digital strategy should be understood in the context of the Barcelona Metropolitan Area (AMB) as a metropolitan public administration.

The smart city policy cannot be separated from the vision of the AMB as a new public administration providing supra-municipal services: new innovative and digital tools for daily work or for direct service to citizens residing in the metropolitan area are the key elements of the AMB's activities with regard to the smart city concept.

The digital strategy has made it possible to unify the image and branding of this new administration, which comprises 36 municipalities and provides services to more than three million people. In addition to an informational portal, the AMB website has become a service platform facilitating cross-disciplinary work, both for the administration itself as well as for citizens, organizations, and businesses.

Thus, the new AMB website has been developed within these information parameters, both at the technical level and with regard to users, assistance, and service. With a new design and structure intended for any platform (desktop computer, touchscreen tablet, or mobile phone), the website and the digital services it offers help to establish the new metropolitan administration as a single and coherent supra-municipal institution.
Structure of the Multichannel Service Information System
Structure of the Multichannel Service Information System
The innovative smart city projects have been structured around a service platform which generates specific tools and apps.
  • Smart city service platforms
    Mapping of a metropolitan park
    Mapping of a metropolitan park (InfoParcs project)

    An advanced technological platform for managing public services has been launched. The project aims to position the metropolitan area among European leaders of smart cities.

    One of the first pilot tests where AMB has already begun to apply this type of technology is in the management of metropolitan parks and beaches.

    In addition to these public metropolitan spaces, smart city projects are being launched in the areas of mobility and transport.

    The AMB works to serve metropolitan smart cities.
  • Smart city projects
    PA installation
    PA installation

    Platges: application of various smart sensors to detect possible defects in showers, for example, in order to avoid wasting water, or sensors installed on rubbish bins to indicate whether or not they are full.

    Parcs: a series of sensors which enable improved quality control by providing tools to determine the power required for lighting or remote management of irrigation, thus saving water resources. Infoparcs also allow the AMB's technical services to remain permanently connected with users, providing two-way alerts of any anomalies occurring in the services.

    PA installations: PA system for proving beachgoers with information about safety and emergencies, the condition of the sea, flag changes, incidents, etc. The PA installation is an autonomous device which may also contain other equipment, such as sensors and WiFi. They can also be powered by electricity or solar energy. Additionally, it is possible to connect to the telecommunications network, depending on its location, through corporate or 3G networks.

    WiFi in metropolitan buses: installation of WiFi and mobile charging points, such as the installation of smart services on Airbus.

    Zero Emission Mobility Program: 12 electric vehicles and 102 electric bicycles given to metropolitan councils.

    Bus stops: 450 dynamic information panels at bus stops; 4,500 installations offering service data to the AMBtempsbus application.

    inBus System: new system of screens on board vehicles (18 screens) that provide travellers with real time information about their journey.

    Charging Stations: installation of 10 quick charging stations for electric vehicles.

    New smart fleet: 1 totally electric bus and 107 buses with hybrid technology (electric and diesel).
AMB mobile phone applications
AMB mobile phone applications

The mobile applications ensure direct services to the public and are free for everyone. Currently the AMB has 5 mobile applications and also offers a variety of digital services via the web.
  • Mobile phone applications
    Infoplatges: Provides information on everything one should know about the status of metropolitan beaches: Castelldefels, Gavà, Viladecans, El Prat de Llobregat, Barcelona, Sant Adrià de Besos, Badalona, and Montgat. In addition to queries, any incidents can also be reported.

    AMBtempsbus: Provides quick and convenient information about buses.

    Bicibox: Used to find the corresponding Bicibox location. In addition to queries, any incidents can also be reported.

    Barcelona Taxi: Allows one to find out the estimated price of a taxi ride throughout the metropolitan area during normal traffic conditions.

    Naus i solars: Presents land deals and industrial buildings in operation for the 36 municipalities of the Barcelona Metropolitan Area.

    Infoparcs: Provides information about the metropolitan network of parks. You will find the list of all parks and ponts of interest such as unique vegettion, botanical routes or jugatecambientals. You can also know all the services in the parks and complementary and useful informations such as the weather, agenda of activities or related publications. With this application you can report and have a track of any incident about cleaning, furniture or vegetation damages, etc., and you can also suggest improvements.
  • Digital services
    Cartography geoportal
    Cartography geoportal

    Geoportal: A web service providing digital cartography. Provides free consultation of various products: topographic map, historical flights, metropolitan street guide, etc.

    Business services: This locator presents services aimed at businesses and entrepreneurs.

    Interactive guide to efficient homes: Interactive guide to household energy-savings which aims to raise awareness and promote the efficient use of energy.
AMB website adapts its content to different media
AMB website adapts its content to different media

The AMB launched its new website in December 2013. One of the goals of the redesign and re-conceptualization of the website was to give a uniform and all-encompassing image to the AMB as a single metropolitan administration.

The website explains the services of the new metropolitan administration and reports on its activities, while simultaneously giving visibility to the 36 municipalities which it comprises. Creating the new site has required a revision, contextualization, and integration of more than 30 websites which previously formed the AMB internet.

The current website is directed at citizens, professionals, and companies, as well as the city halls forming the AMB. The four main objectives pursued are to inform people about the AMB and about the management and costs of the services it provides, to promote transparency and collaboration through the creation of an open-data portal (open governance), and to create a procedures portal (electronic governance).

It also aims to facilitate citizen participation with various resources: creation of a citizen support space, implementation of social networks, the launch of an open-data portal and the generation of a range of digital services to create new content and reference materials (newsletters, geoportal, web forms, etc.).

The new website is being implemented in two cycles: a first phase (already completed) of organization and content generation; and a second phase (quite advanced) of interaction through electronic (e-Gov) and open (oGov) administration.

Since the launch of the new website (2nd December 2013) unique visitors have increased from 31,000 per month to 145,000 in March 2015, a 468% in less than a year and a half.
  • Production and content summary
    The SIAM (Multichannel Service Information System) includes a set of elements and technological solutions enabling the dissemination of information on multiple channels, including online and via mobile devices.

    The following graph outlines the SIAM model:

    SIAM model
    SIAM model

    The AMB website is constantly updated with contributions from all departments of the institution. Website Copywriting is responsible for keeping it up to date, expanding it, and submitting new proposals related to the content of the website, as well as new digital products.
  • Digital solutions: websites, newsletters, forms, and blogs

    AMB Newsletter standard format
    AMB Newsletter standard format

    One of the digital services which has been launched is the creation, maintenance, and management of various web solutions, such as newsletters, forms, or corporate blogs.
    • Electronic newsletters: five different newsletters are currently being managed. These newsletters inform and serve as notice boards for a large number of activities planned and carried out by the AMB.
    • Forms: this tool allows for the management and creation of personalized forms to ensure proper management of events and announcements.
    • Blogs: designed so that the units with very specialized public profiles may develop their own specific content.
    • With regard to social networks, support and technical advice continues to be offered pending a more comprehensive definition of the social network strategy of the AMB website.
  • Design and adaptation
    Content adapted to different media
    Content adapted to different media

    Through a rational and coherent design, the website seeks to be efficient, modern, and current.

    The website has also been adapted to a responsive design, which is a web design concept involving the re-sizing and placement of the elements of the website so that they properly fit the screen on which they are being viewed –tablet, mobile, or computer– in order for the content to be correctly displayed and so that users have a good experience.

    The design of the AMB website was a finalist in the 2015 Laus Awards.
  • The educational tool Snapi!
    Working with Snapi!
    Working with Snapi!
    In the context of the implementation of the metropolitan open-data portal, the joint participation of the AMB and Citilab were key for the Snapi! project, which teaches kids how to program using very simple programming language and metropolitan open data. Although it is currently aimed at children ages 8 to 18, the goal is to develop and disseminate a programming tool so that citizens may participate in the potential of the information society and can learn to innovate with open data in an easy and accessible way.

    More information
    Educational tool Snapi!
  • Open data
    opendata web
    More than 230 datasets in the AMB Opendata Catalogue
    Currently, the open-data portal of the AMB offers more than 230 datasets and data catalogues.

    The role of open data is for third parties to be able to use the data to generate applications, to facilitate the management of public administrations, and to permit data access to the public. Thus, with its new portal the AMB fulfils two of the fundamental principles of open government through its actions of transparency and collaboration.

    Additionally, data from the AMB itself is used to create applications which further facilitate citizen access to public information and to the new services such as real-time information on the state of beaches, the arrival times of metropolitan buses, the nearest Bicibox parking location, or topographic maps of where you live. This database also facilitates the creation of the services typical of a smart city.

    More information
    AMB Open Data