top of page
20180409 DataCity new logo2-09.png


Reducing environment and health impact when accessing the city

How can new management scenarios of high capacity roads impact mobility & health indicators at the access to Barcelona?


Cities throughout the world are faced with the challenge of reducing traffic due to its considerable impact on environment and public health. The City of Barcelona aims to reduce by 21% the use of private vehicles in the city by 2024 [1]. At the same time, some of the main toll-roads concessions in Catalonia will come to an end by 2021 and debate is opened regarding the new management model to opt for. Two main models are being implemented throughout Europe:

  1. Time-based payment model or “vignette”: toll roads are substituted by a mandatory annual tax paid by all cars using high-capacity roads in Catalunya registered in the territory or coming from outside the territory (including foreign vehicles).

  2. Distance-based payment model or “pay per use”: commuter pays a fee per trip which evolves depending on the distance travelled on the high capacity road.




The access to Barcelona includes high-capacity roads but also the network of public transport used by commuters. How will new management scenarios affect conditions on high capacity roads? And the behaviour of travellers commuting from the municipalities of the Metropolitan Area to the City of Barcelona? How will each scenario affect pollution and public health levels at the access to the city of Barcelona? To answer those questions, Autopistas and Barcelona City Council teamed up with two startups CIMA and Mosaic Factor.



CIMA, consulting company based in Madrid, experts in modelling and simulation of traffic and mobility issues to give the necessary insights to take right decisions.

Mosaic Factor, company based in Barcelona, which expertise on data analysis and software development focus on innovative solutions in the field of people and goods' mobility throughout Europe, most specifically Personal Mobility, Logistics & E-commerce.





  • Assess the impact of both scenarios on travel conditions on high capacity roads accessing Barcelona. CIMA created a travel choice model based on the minimisation of the Generalised Cost for the user of high capacity roads and analysed indicators such as Level of Service, Traffic conditions, Travel times, Emissions and Accidental rate under studied scenarios

  • Assess the impact of both scenarios on the use of public transport network to access Barcelona. Mosaic Factor assessed and analysed the commuters’ potential shift from private to public transport under studied scenarios.



The results of this study show an increase in congestion, emissions and accident rate indicators under the “vignette” scenario or what is the same, the toll elimination scenario in relation to the current scenario. Traffic in high-capacity roads would likely increase by 18% and consequently increase delays by up to 35%, accidents by 31% and emissions by around 17%. This scenario would require an action plan to counteract the negative impact on mobility and health indicators when accessing the City of Barcelona. On the other hand, the “pay per use" model where the user pays for the distance travelled, seems to indicate an improvement in the levels of congestion and the reduction of air quality and accident rate indicators, with respect to the current scenario. The model estimates a reduction of approximately 27% in the use of private vehicles with the consequent reduction in travel time. The emissions could be reduced by 18% and the accident rate would be reduced by around 16%. The application of tolls in specific tariff zones could have a positive impact on the preservation of the environment and the health of the area’s residents, but it would also mean a considerable increase in the use of public transport that could hardly be absorbed by the current public transport system. This second scenario would require a joint action by the Metropolitan Area and the City of Barcelona to strengthen the public transport network that connects municipalities to Barcelona.

Comparative map of emissions under both scenarios

at the access to the city



Complex urban challenges drive a new model of collaboration in the field of data science between public administrations and the private sector, where treating data as a central tool can improve the quality of life in our cities. As a result of this project, led by the Data Office of Barcelona City Council, the Deputy Office of Mobility received valuable and structured information that will allow them to make data-driven decisions in order to provide citizen with more efficient and sustainable mobility services.


[1] Barcelona City Council, Urban Mobility Plan (2019-2024)


bottom of page