What benefits do tramways offer over other transport systems?

Trams are faster and safer than buses

Trams are faster than buses because they do not face the accordion effects of traffic lights and are able to stop and take passengers on board more quickly. So they travel faster, at an average speed of 17.5 km/h.

Among the various parameters studied, assessments were carried out on the amount of time that each of the alternative public transport options could save users who decided to use the tramway.

According to data from the International Organisation for Public Transport (UITP), trams are approximately twice as safe as buses. And, according to data from the Public Transport Promotion Association (PTP, chart data) in 2014, the bus-tram combination is 12.5 times safer than cars and 65.8 times safer than motorbikes.

The tramway is the most positively rated system of collective transport by city residents

According to data from the Workday Mobility Survey conducted every year by the ATM, the metropolitan trams are the most highly rated means of collective public transport by a long way and, since 2015, they have scored even better than private vehicles, something unheard of in an area such as Barcelona’s metropolitan area. The public give it a score of 7.7 out of 10.

What’s more, the number of people who use the current tram network has increased considerably in recent years and it is anticipated even more will do so if it is linked up.

Trams create less pollution and noise

Trams improve the environmental quality of urban spaces sparing the city over 92% of NOx per passenger/km compared to the city’s bus fleet and diesel cars.

As for noise, the levels generated by trams are low and are completely masked by the noise made by other traffic. Tramways are, therefore, a collective transport system that reduces noise pollution and can lead to a modal shift that involves fewer cars on the city’s streets, thereby reducing their environmental and noise impact on public spaces and housing.

In this way, the project represents an improvement to noise pollution along Avda Diagonal itself although, however as with pollutant emissions, it is completely determined by the distribution of vehicles.

The field of study is one of the areas with the highest levels of noise, quite over the average for Barcelona, because it sees a high level of the city’s traffic. This variable is strongly linked to how the city is run and is difficult to resolve; the urban model, public spaces and above all mobility need to be thoroughly reassessed.

Logically, reducing traffic will reduce noise levels even if such a reduction follows a logarithmic function. For example, noise levels in a city with a traffic density of 20,000 vehicles/day are around 70 dB(A). Reducing this level of noise to under 65 dB(A) means cutting down traffic by between four or five times the existing volume. 

Tramways have the ideal transport capacity for a thoroughfare like Diagonal

Tramways increase the capacity of public transport, as a double tram is the equivalent of six standard buses and has a capacity of 400 places. 

Meanwhile, Diagonal is perfectly compatible with a variety of uses: public space, overground public transport, intermodality, etc. And, this is because of its features which make it so unique. Its capacity for intermodality is enormous. What is more, it can become the great metropolitan connection. In fact, Avda Diagonal boasts very special features: it is 50 metres wide (even though the space it encompasses is greater), with its special geometry, every junction is an expansion of air. On the understanding that cars cannot occupy the whole area, it could become a very multi-purpose avenue. The continuity of the tramway’s route along this avenue could solve issues with urban spaces that are especially complicated, in which there is currently no public space. A strong reason is needed to resolve all of those issues and the tramway provides an opportunity to do that. 

Why is it a good idea to connect Barcelona’s current tram network?

Because it will allow us to attain a healthier and fairer urban model, based on sustainable and efficient mobility

The tramway connection provides an opportunity to redesign the city, by implementing a sustainable model that gives priority, in the following order, to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport, as stated under the Barcelona Urban Mobility Plan (UMP) for 2013-2018. The result is a healthier, fairer and more sustainable city. Sustainable and efficient mobility is one of the cornerstones of this urban model, where there is also a need to enhance quality public spaces (with more urban green spaces and more space for pedestrians), where we need to look for strategies to reduce atmospheric and noise pollution (fewer cars, less pollution) and where we need to continue to improve our current management of resources and waste. Under this model, pedestrians will gain first right of way in streets, with second and third places going to cyclists and public transport. Pavements will be wider and more accessible and cars will stop being the central element in city planning. Greenery is taking over the city (tree pits, traffic islands between cars, public transport and bike lanes) and green spaces are being fostered and extended beyond parks. They are being set up on residents’ roof terraces and in every space with a plot of land where native species can be planted. Let’s stop designing cities for cars and start designing them for people. 


Because it will contribute to fairness and social integration between neighbourhoods and municipalities with varying levels of income within the metropolitan area

The tramway project also helps to bring about connections between urban areas with varying income levels (from El Besòs to Baix Llobregat), thereby contributing to social integration. At the same time as safeguarding health, we also need to fight against the inequalities between people and territories. Access to private vehicles is lower in the city's more vulnerable areas and the option for public transport allows residents to enjoy the same opportunities as everyone else to travel around the city. 

Because it will have less of a negative impact on the public's health

Vehicle traffic is the main cause of pollution in Barcelona and has been increasing over the last few years (up by 2.3% from 2014 to 2015). According to the Barcelona Public Health Agency, the average levels (day after day) of Barcelona’s main pollutants (NO2, PM10 and PM2,5) rose by over 10% from 2014 to 2015. There are no regulations on cars entering or leaving the city, on how much they pollute, the conditions they are in or of the real need for them to be travelling in the city.

Health is directly affected by these high levels of pollutants. The 2015 Report on Health had already highlighted the need to propose improvements for air quality as one of the main challenges to health, given that several limit levels were already being exceeded and that the levels of the main pollutants have worsened compared with the previous year. Air pollution causes premature deaths from cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, as well as respiratory illnesses and lung cancer. It also aggravates other illnesses such as asthma, chronic lung disease, pneumonia, heart disease, coronary failure, hypertension and diabetes, to name a few.

Studies backed by ISGlobal in Barcelona have shown that urban air pollution not only has an adverse effect on brain development in children, causing changes that affect operational proficiency, but is also associated with reduced fertility.

So connecting the tramway network would reduce the presence of cars in the city and, as a result, the air and noise pollution associated with car traffic. That would have direct positive effects for the population.

Because it represents a reduction in both atmospheric and noise pollution

The urban model intended for implementation via the tramway connection will be healthier, as fewer cars will lead to a direct reduction in atmospheric and noise pollution. The tram connection will enable Barcelona to improve its range of public transport on offer, giving more space to pedestrians and cyclists and cutting down on the physical space allocated to cars (we also need to consider the space cars take up when they are parked, and not just when they are travelling). 

The European Union has once again brought this to our attention. Barcelona is exceeding the limits for NOx emissions and particles, and the Action Plan for Improving Air by 2020 already incorporates measures for restricting private vehicle numbers (on the part of the Catalan regional government), among other things. For its part, Barcelona City Council has already launched 58 initiatives to combat atmospheric pollution. Some of these measures include: From the winter of 2017-2018, under the AMB's proposal, the most polluting classes of vehicles will no longer be able to enter the city during days when there are episodes of high levels of atmospheric NO2 pollution. This measure will be a requisite by 2020 (or the plan is for it to be so even before then), when the more polluting classes of vehicle will see travel restrictions in Barcelona on a permanent basis.

This is not about a “war against cars” but rather a way to fulfil the legal objectives set by Europe and by the city itself. Therefore, any improvement to public transport will help to cover all members of the public who will have to leave their cars parked so they can travel in another, less polluting way. Alternatives must be provided. We need to offer high quality public transport that enables all citizens still using cars, purely for the sake of convenience, to find a feasible alternative in public transport: One that genuinely proves to be competitive with cars, which is even faster and more comfortable. It is clear that the city will not be completely free of private vehicles, but what we can do is turn a large number of drivers into new public transport users who are more attracted to a new, enhanced bus network, efficient metro lines and brand new lines that connect places previously outside the network's coverage, an additional 200 km of bicycle lanes throughout the city and, lastly another piece of the jigsaw, a tramway that is finally fully connected and part of a metropolitan-scale system.

Because it will broaden the range of public transport on offer

Barcelona Council considers it essential to attract more passengers to public transport and understands, in this respect, that connecting the two tramway networks is the key to boosting public transport with a two-fold purpose: To take action above ground with a high-capacity transport system to respond to the metropolitan demand.

The data offers the best way to understand the situation in Barcelona. While most people commute within the city by foot and public transport, private motor vehicles are still the main mode of transport to travel to and from the city. This is a challenge that needs to be tackled using an overground public transport network connecting metropolitan municipalities, so that people travel less by car and more by public transport.  

In addition, private vehicles are not projected as the transport system for the future. On the contrary, the new mobility model of the 21st century features and plans for other healthier, fairer and more sustainable systems, such as trams and bicycles.

This is a project based on connections in many respects, not only in the realm of the tramway network but also in its connection with other public transport systems and in the social sphere (people meeting up in urban areas with different income ranges, with more spaces to gather in the streets, thanks to wider pavements etc.) Connecting the tramway will considerably increase the capacity of overground public transport without losing commercial speed, with low installation costs, low energy consumption and less impact on the environment, offering large-scale accessibility whilst also connecting with the rest of the public transport system and to non-motorised systems (walking and cycling).

Because it will improve intermodality

The tramway link would lead to the creation of new stops and interchanges within the area that is currently disconnected. This will increase the public transport network’s intermodality (tramway, metro and new bus network) and expand the range of public transport on offer. In this context, the goal is also to attract more users.

The Barcelona City Council considers it essential to attract more passengers to its public transport system and, accordingly, views the connection of the two tramway networks as a key factor in boosting public transport.

However, the current tramway network, metro and also the New Bus Network deliver intermodal transport options. The tramway connection will provide new stops that will enable passengers to interchange comfortably with the NXBus at the following stops:

  • Maria Cristina (V3 and H6)
  • Numància (V7)
  • Francesc Macià (V11)
  • Aribau‐Diagonal (V13)
  • Via Augusta (V15)
  • Jardinets de Gràcia (V17)
  • Lepant‐Diagonal (V21)
  • Glòries (H12)
  • Bac de Roda (V27)
  • Fòrum (H16)
  • Besòs‐Verneda (H12)

Because it will improve links between several of the city’s neighbourhoods and will connect the metropolitan area with nine municipalities

This tramway connection would resolve the current shortcoming: the disconnected tramway, and would enable both urban and metropolitan connections. These connections would not only benefit the residents of Barcelona but also of other municipalities from which 500,000 cars and motorbikes come every day. Bridging the tramway network will improve connections to several of the city's neighbourhoods and enable Barcelona to connect to the eight surrounding municipalities. This means shifting the focus from a city to a metropolitan-based approach. The goal is to attract more tram users and to reduce the need for people to take their cars to travel to or around Barcelona. 

The aim is to connect nine municipalities expanding the existing tram network by 3.8 km, transforming it from a city network to a metropolitan network, and thereby increasing its demand.

Because it will solve an existing shortcoming: the disconnected tramways

In this context, bridging the gap between tramways involves finishing a planned project which was started but left unfinished. An ‘interrupted’ tramway becomes a dysfunctional tramway, incapable of reaching its full-service potential, considering above all its large capacity, the speed it can reach, the minimal ground space it takes up, in addition to, the increase in road safety it provides. Barcelona sustainable transport systems that need enhancing, with even more connections, which are competitive against private transport. Trams are one of these systems.

Because it has already been scheduled in the existing planning

Besides the urgent need to deal with the environmental and health problems affecting the public, connecting the two current tramways (Trambaix and Trambesòs) has already been provided for in the existing approved plans, in addition to being included in Barcelona en Comú's electoral programme (on page 33). Therefore, this is partly about implementing initiatives that have already been planned in related documents and approved/voted for in their due course, such as: 

  • Barcelona en Comú's electoral programme. Where the programme looks at the urban model for the city, it dedicates an area to discussing public transport. The text reads:Advancing towards a comprehensive and sustainable public transport model. Connecting tram networks along Diagonal, with full urbanisation of the street allows us to bring a new pedestrian zone to the city.
  • Infrastructure Master Plan (PDI) for 2011-2020. The Infrastructure Plan highlights that the connection is a decisive factor in increasing the tramway network's connectivity with the other existing networks (metro, Catalan railways (FGC) and the Rodalies commuter rail service) on a metropolitan level. 
  • The Barcelona Urban Mobility Plan (UMP) for 2013-2018. The UMP advocates the need for a modal shift where walking, cycling and public transport gain importance over private vehicles, with them gradually occupying less space on the city streets. The UMP proposes to reduce road space together with other measures that help to reduce journeys in motor vehicles, above all, improving public transport services to prevent the current level of traffic congestion from rising

The current innovation to the regulations in force is that, following several preliminary technical studies on the tramway connection and the current assessment of various alternatives being carried out, which can be consulted from May onwards in the Survey Report, the connection along Avda Diagonal appears to be the most balanced and optimal option in all respects.

Where and how can today’s tramway network be connected?

And was a comparative financial evaluation carried out too? How was it done?

Yes, this financial evaluation was carried out under the following method: Installation costs for each of the four options can be grouped into:

  • Costs corresponding to the same transport system (tramway or bus).
  • Costs corresponding to the civil and urban-development work strictly needed for installing the system.

As for installation costs, we have to establish when they occur with regard to the system’s “life cycle”. So we can distinguish:

  • The initial installation costs.
  • The expansion of work and installation (normally, in adaptation to the system's new increasing demand).
  • Replacements and restoration (due to obsolescence or end of useful life).

Likewise, both the initial and deferred installation costs can be divided as follows:

  • Work and installation costs.
  • Acquisition of brand-new rolling stock.
  • Adapting existing rolling stock (only initial investment).
  • Creating or extending workshops and garages needed for rolling stock.

Finally, the system's operational costs for thirty years of usage will be calculated.

Has the environmental impact of each option been taken into account?

Yes, a comparison was made between the emission levels of pollutants, greenhouse gases and noise caused by each of the alternatives as well as other aspects, and the result of this comparison can be clearly seen in this table (where the colour code corresponds to a positive change (green), neutral (grey) and negative (red). 

Has an estimate been made for the user demand in each case?

Yes, and the results are as follows:

All of the alternatives considered were analysed to the same level of detail. How were they compared to one another?

The information study includes the following comparative evaluation methods for analysing project alternatives:

  • Cost-benefit analysis (CBA).
  • Multi-criteria analysis (MCA).

Cost-benefit analysis basically studies the various costs of implementing and exploiting the infrastructure and contrasts them with the benefits of saving public transport users’ time, as well as on an environmental level. Multi-criteria analysis adds other parameters to the CBA results such as demand, its capacity for improving the public transport system, its suitability for the urban setting and its contribution to the Catalan economy.

Why are there three alternative options for travelling along Diagonal? And even a fourth one which partially covers the area?

Because, in contrast to city's other main hubs, Avda Diagonal, between Francesc Macià and Glòries, is not equipped with a fast service nor a medium or high capacity (tramway, metro or commuter train). What is more, the central section of Avda Diagonal is used exclusively for the bus service:

  • With a bus lane that is not wide enough and is used by more than 46 buses per hour.
  • The bus lane’s capacity is exceeded during peak hours, causing serious problems with buses accumulating at bus stops. This is known as the accordion effect, which massively slows down the commercial speed and noticeably reduces the quality of service. 

Criteria for choosing the ultimate options for the tramway connection

Ultimately, three alternatives whose entire routes traverse Avda Diagonal were considered, and another whose route only partially travels along the avenue.

As for the three options that traverse Avinguda Diagonal for their entire routes, these shared the following aspects, irrespective of their profiles (overground and/or through a tunnel) and mode (tram and/or bus):

  • The selection criteria indicated in the preliminary studies:
    • They do not overlap with the train or metro network.
    • They have a simple geometric positioning and do not overly interfere with road transport or pedestrians.
    • They do not involve peripheral routes that make a good quality service impossible for flows that start/end in the city centre.
  • Coherence with the new bus network (NXB), which blends in perfectly with the new network to achieve efficient intermodal transport.
  • To fulfil the objectives in current planning:
    • Achieve a good penetration of the current tramway networks in the centre.
    • Reduce motorised vehicles (except in the case of the tunnel option).
    • Renovate the fleet of vehicles from a technological point of view.
    • Improve public transport services. 

And as for the option that only partially travels along Avinguda Diagonal and which also passes along C/ Urgell-Provença-Diagonal, it was also incorporated into the Study based on:

  • Relative proximity to Diagonal.
  • Reduced impact on Provença street traffic, taking into account its current pacification characteristics.
  • Minimal overlapping with the NXB lines. 

The alternatives chosen have at least one feature in common: they are all in line with a sustainable and healthy urban model

The debate is not about a healthy and sustainable urban model, it is about the best option to achieve that aim. The Information Study is not to open the debate on the urban model. It is a response to the aim that people have a healthier, quality space, and modes of transport such as walking, cycling and public transport are prioritised over the use of private vehicles.

All the alternatives studied have this feature in common and would implement it to a greater or lesser extent (because they don’t all attract the same demand, nor do they replace the same number of cars or achieve wider pavements and more urban greenery).

How were the alternatives selected in the Survey Report?

The range of options responds to two main criteria:

  1. Taking maximum advantage of the results obtained in the previous studies (based on a critical analysis of those studies), notably the Preliminary Studies for connecting the Trambesòs and Trambaix networks of 2016. The geographical research area for possible alternatives is limited to those analysed in the Preliminary Studies. 
  2. Maximum coherence with the planning in force, such as the Infrastructure Master Plan (PDI) of the Barcelona Metropolitan Area (2011-2020), the Urban Mobility Plan (UMP) of Barcelona City Council (2013-2018) and the Mobility Master Plan of the ATM (2012-2018).

What is a Survey Report and what purpose does it serve? How does it differ from the Preliminary Studies made so far?

Survey Reports define, evaluate and compare the various options put forward as solutions for connecting the Trambaix and Trambesòs tramways.

In fact, this Survey Report is made to comply with Act 4/2006, of 31 March, which defines the tramway infrastructure as a railway infrastructure installed on a public highway and, under Article 10, establishes that “a survey report and a building project need to be drafted if a railway infrastructure is to be built or an existing one modified”. 

The tramway connection has been analysed from several perspectives and with numerous technical studies. The idea of connecting the tramway network has been assessed seven times since the end of the 1990s. In fact, it is Barcelona's most analysed public transport project. The options which ended up in the analysis present certain modifications compared to the ones considered for the 2016 Preliminary Studies. The results of the two documents are noticeably similar.

Details of the option selected in the Survey Report

Administratively speaking, what are the next steps and what is the expected timetable?

Now that the Preliminary Studies have concluded that the optimal option is to connect the tramways along Avda Diagonal, pre-approval will be given in June to the Survey Report evaluating the tramway's possible alternative connections and selection of the overground connection along Av Diagonal. The Survey Report will undergo public scrutiny and be presented to the temporary study commission recently created as a public monitoring committee. Lastly, once the survey report receives definitive approval from the ATM the final project can be approved to effectuate connection. From then on it will be able to establish the timetable for the work to be carried out.

What will happen to the buses that currently travel along Avda Diagonal and which will be replaced by the tramway?

As already pointed out, there will not be any dismissals. All current bus drivers will keep their positions and the buses will be used to enhance the bus network in the rest of the city. Although nothing has been specifically decided on how it will be done seeing as these buses have not been included in the New Bus Network, but they are expected to be incorporated into it.

Will removing two car lanes cause traffic bottlenecks along Diagonal or Eixample's streets?

On the contrary. The new traffic-light sequence will prevent bottlenecks and enable the various types of overground public transport to work together safely and without interference. It may be said that vehicles will take less time to cross the city thanks to the new traffic-light sequence which was studied by the City Council, more specifically with a micro-simulation developed by CENIT (Centre for Transport Innovation) at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) which consisted of a simulation of tramway traffic along Diagonal between Francesc Macià and Glòries. 

This work analysed the impact that installing a tramway along the section of Avda Diagonal between Francesc Macià and C/ Castillejos would have, by studying the consequences it would have on traffic in the form of buses, vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians. The document from CENIT analysed a total of 24 junctions and 30 streets, and carried out a study in even greater detail on the four most complex areas: Passeig de Gràcia, Via Augusta, Francesc Macià and Passeig de Sant Joan. The simulations were created according to the peak time of the day: the rush hour between 8 am and 9 am.

The study included a series of preliminary initiatives to be implemented which would optimise the running of the various transport systems, such as the provision for a change in the direction of traffic on C/ Urgell and Avda Sarrià; and the provision for and exclusive shared lane for trams and buses between Passeig de Gràcia and Via Augusta. An exclusive bicycle lane for cyclists with green traffic-light time coordinated between them and trams will also be maintained.

The micro-simulation concluded that:

  • With the correct traffic-light sequence, the tramway through Avda Diagonal would reach an average commercial speed of 17.6 km/h, between Plaça de Francesc Macià and Plaça Glòries, guaranteeing 4-minute tram frequencies.
  • That would mean the journey time between these two points in the city would be a total of 15 minutes. These results would halve the current travel time between Plaça de Francesc Macià and Plaça de les Glòries on public transport.
  • As for the other transport systems: buses, private motor vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians; the results of the technical study also show improvements such as:
    • 81% of the 16 bus lines that cross Avda Diagonal in the field of study show an improvement on the current waiting times, reducing them by an average of 8 seconds.
    • Private vehicles would see an improvement of 67% in their waiting times when travelling along the streets that cross Diagonal.  In the 30 cross streets analysed, each user of this transport system would save an average of 9 seconds of waiting time. That would also lead to an overall reduction in queues at traffic lights by an average of 7 metres, compared to the current situation.
    • The average journey time for cyclists to cover the entire section studied, at a speed of between 15 and 20 km/h would be 25 minutes, gaining 5 minutes on the current average travel time.
    • As for pedestrians, the analysis states that traffic-light programming could enable pedestrians to cross all junctions at optimal times, from curb to curb, ensuring they can cross all junctions walking at 1 m/s and in most cases, even at 0.8 m/s.

The study, therefore, concludes that a tram can travel along this section of Avda Diagonal at an efficient commercial speed, while also ensuring maximum efficiency in the other public transport systems, and without increasing private-vehicle congestion during rush hours.

What changes will this option bring to Diagonal?

Two car lanes will be removed to enable the tramway’s installation, pavements will be widened, bike lanes will be extended and traffic light changes will be synchronised so that all of these transport systems can work together without interfering with one another and, in any case, to improve their commercial traffic speeds and safety levels. This will lead to an improvement in services for the public it serves. 

Why connect the overground section along Avda. Diagonal with reserved platform

The tram connection with the overground tramway along Diagonal with reserved platform is the most positively rated transport alternative according to the methodology applied in the Survey Report, which show that it is the ideal option for all users (according to a cost-benefit Analysis) as well as for economic, environmental, urban-planning etc. reasons (evaluated in a multi-criteria Analysis).

This option, therefore, helps the new urban model that entails the most sustainable mobility possible to be achieved. More spaces for the public, better quality public spaces, less private vehicles, resulting in less noise and atmospheric pollution. Safer roads and full accessibility to public transport, as well as enhancing its intermodal transport system.

Having ruled out the alternative proposals that prove more expensive or fail to have sufficient social return, it reaches the conclusion that the best way to connect the current network of tramways is along a straight line through Diagonal and overground, with a reduction in private traffic associated with the removal of two private-vehicle lanes (and without causing any bottlenecks thanks to a custom-designed traffic-light sequence at 24 junctions along Diagonal between Glòries and Francesc Macià), with more space for pedestrians and cyclists and full compatibility and intermodality with the other public and private transport systems.

This is not only about connecting the current tramway network and ensuring that it operates on a metropolitan, rather than a city scale, but also about opting to implement an urban model where priority is given to pedestrians, cyclists and public-transport users, to achieve a healthier and fairer city for everyone.

How was the superior option chosen for the tramway connection in Barcelona? Which option was selected?

As part of the Survey Report and after analysing the financial and functional attributes of each of the four alternatives, a cost-benefit Analysis (CBA) and a Multi-criteria (MCA) Analysis were carried out

The financial profitability of the options was examined with the CBA, which involves adding the project's costs and benefits algebraically for the agents that represent the whole of the society affected by the project. According to the results of this analysis, alternative 1 is the preferred option, given that:

  • Its social internal rate of return (SIRR) is the highest.
  • Its period of return on the investment (payback) is the lowest (12 years, compared to 30 for the second alternative).
  • Its profit-costs ratio is the highest.

Alternative 1 (Overground tramway along Avda Diagonal with reserved platform) was proven to be the best from the point of view of all users (public transport and private vehicles).

As for the multi-criteria Analysis, this takes account of the level of compliance with 6 goals, under the weighted and straight-line methods, as well as the values of 17 indicators resulting from these 6 goals:

  1. Maximising the demand served.
  2. Improving the public transport system (connectivity, facility, efficiency of use, etc.)
  3. Minimising the impact on the environment and externalities (building and usage phase).
  4. Maximising profitability and financial efficiency.
  5. Maximising the project's capacity in the existing urban network and promoting urban insertion. 
  6. Maximising the macro-economic impact on the Catalan economy.

The results of the MCA show that alternative 1 proves to be the most advisable as it outweighs the other alternatives in goals 3 and 4 (which weighted and summed represent 50%) and comes second best in goals 1, 2 and 5. Alternative 2 (tramway semi-underground along Avda Diagonal) is better than alternative 1 with a certain margin only in goal 6: Maximising the macro-economic impact on the Catalan economy, and presents good results in the goals; so it comes second in order of points. 

To conclude, alternative 1, overground tramway along Diagonal with a reserved platform, and alternative 2, a semi-underground tramway along Diagonal, are the two best options according to the multi-criteria Analysis. Alternative 1 prevails over alternative 2 in 4 of the 6 goals and in 11 of the 17 indicators, whereas alternative 2 performed better in 2 goals and 2 indicators. Both achieve the same level of compliance with 4 indicators: Intermodality, acts as a barrier for vehicles (reducing accessibility) and reducing parking places.

The best option, therefore, according to the cost-benefit Analysis and the multi-criteria Analysis and other aspects considered in the Survey Report is the first one: The overground tram section along Avda. Diagonal with reserved platform.

Model for managing the tramway connection and the involvement of various parties: institutions, politicians and city residents

How have city residents been involved in this project?

An active listening process has been carried out with various target groups to find out-residents' views on the transport connection project. The aims of this project are to share the main criteria that make up the municipal proposal for connecting the networks with the main parties involved in the project, and to find out their views, before and during the entire technical process, highlighting the municipal intention to listen to all parties connected with the project. 

Who has demonstrated their favour for and who is against the overground tramway connection along Diagonal?

The tramway connection through Diagonal was accompanied by several parties who champion it and make the case for it based on their respective positions, as well as others who do not support it and believe the connection may be harmful to the entire city.

  • Parties who support the connection through Avda Diagonal:
    • International experts in tramways. Many of these attended the workshops on trams held at the UPC on 7 and 8 March. Notable names include Samuel I. Schwartz, the Chair of SSC GPO Group and the main person responsible for the tramway system in New York; Ethiene Lhomet, a Director of Des Villes & Des Hommes; Mariana Faver, Vereniging Deltametropool Rotterdam and Klaus Dietrich Matscke, a Director of Tramvies Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG).
    • Various platforms and associations such as: the Public Transport Promotion Platform; the Air Quality Platform and the Diagonal for Everyone Platform.
    • FAVB (Barcelona Federation of Residents’ Associations), which recently signed a manifesto in favour (consult it here).
    • 8 of the 9 municipalities connected by tramway have signed motions in favour of this connection.
  • Parties who do not support this and even propose alternatives:
    • PdCat, the former CIU political party group, the government responsible for implementing the current tramway lines but which no longer agrees with the tramway connection through Avda Diagonal and which supports the notion of installing an electric-bus line (D30) there instead.
    • Associació Diagonal Barcelona, chaired by Marta Canut, a serious critic of the connection who holds the opinion that a tramway through Avda Diagonal will not create local business.

How was the political consensus managed?

A temporary study commission was set up at the end of March 2017 which will be in operation for no longer than 6 months. The commission is made up of all of the Barcelona City Council political party groups and will consider the solution championed by the municipal government, the tramway connection through Avda Diagonal; as well as the one supported by the former CiU political party group: an electric bus through Av Diagonal. All possible technical solutions will be studied through the assessment of the studies conducted by the Council and other authorities, such as the report that is being prepared by BIMSA on the connection (Survey Report). This commission aims to analyse possible mechanisms to ensure that the tramway is 100% publicly owned and managed, as well as the impact that joining the tramways together through Avda Diagonal could have on Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona.

Is there an institutional consensus?

The municipal government has the institutional support of the Catalan regional government, with whom it signed a protocol, working alongside the Metropolitan Transport Authority (ATM). 

How is this extension to Barcelona’s tram network going to be managed?

In the current TRAM Management Model, every network is operated through a different public limited company, both owned by TRAM. This framework groups together the train manufacturer, the infrastructure manager Globalvia and the Moventis bus operator, as well as several minor, business and institutional partners. Besides the initial capital of 430 million euros needed to construct the lines–funded by Banc Sabadell and Societé Générale, with the corresponding interest to be paid for from the public purse–, the Government pays TRAM a certain amount every year for providing the service, which amounted to 89.7 million euros last year.  

The aim of the new tender is to expand public participation in the system, so that managing the city’s tramway network has greater public involvement.