Pollution causes hundreds of premature deaths every year in Barcelona
Environmental pollution causes serious health problems. The World Health Organisation (WHO) affirms that it causes cancer and numerous studies describe a whole series of other problems, such as respiratory system and eye irritation, altered development of children's brains and the appearance of respiratory and cardiac problems. Several research studies confirm that pollution causes hundreds of premature deaths in Barcelona every year, along with hospital admissions for cardiorespiratory problems, besides cases of bronchitis and asthma attacks in children and adults.
One in every three journeys is made in a private vehicle
Despite the fact that most journeys in Barcelona's metropolitan area are made on foot or bicycle (over 46.8%), as much as 35.3% are by car, leading to air-quality problems in the city and its surrounding areas. The use of public transport, for instance, is much lower, at just 17.9%.
Over half of the cars have only one occupant
The low occupancy of vehicles travelling in the metropolitan area has led to a rise in traffic and pollution. In 58.3% of private-vehicle journeys, there is only one occupant, 27.3% have two and 14.4% have three or more. The average number of people travelling by car in the metropolitan area is 1.6.
Barcelona is the city with the highest density of vehicles in Europe
This is not an agreeable record, but Barcelona has over six thousand cars per square kilometre. That is double the figure for Madrid and more than three times the number for London, for example. If you add motorbikes to that number, the total figure is well over nine thousand vehicles per square kilometre, which is three times the vehicle density for Madrid and 5.5 times the figure for London.
25% of journeys are made between 5 pm and 8 pm
On work days, over 90% of journeys in the metropolitan area are made between 7 am and 9 pm. The rush hour is between 5 pm and 8 pm, when almost 25% of the day's journeys are made, given that they include those made for personal reasons and those made by people returning home from work. Even so, there are two pollution peaks every day: one in the morning and the other during the rush hour. The morning one is normally higher than the evening one. Let's avoid doing any outdoor physical activities when the air pollution levels are highest.
96% of journeys in Barcelona are made by city residents
Barcelona City Council's latest report on mobility shows that almost 4.9 million internal journeys were made every day in Barcelona in 2015, 96.3% of which were made by city residents. A further 1.8 million city journeys were made, corresponding to vehicles entering and leaving the metropolitan area. Only 30% of those journeys were made by Barcelona's residents.
The city is making its fleets of municipal vehicles more sustainable
Barcelona is gradually changing its fleet of buses and cleaning vehicles over to the most sustainable technology available. Diesel engines are being phased out and replaced with others that use natural gas; hybrid and electric vehicles are also being incorporated. In addition, the city's pneumatic waste-collection network runs mostly on electricity, which means the number of vehicles needed in the streets is being reduced. This means less motorised traffic and pollution.