Bus-HOV lane for Barcelona

Exclusive lanes for high occupancy vehicles and buses (bus-HOV) in the Barcelona Metropolitan area, are helping to cut transport times and alleviate congestion problems.

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The Bus-HOV lane C-58 project is one such project, based on the construction of a bus-HOV (high occupancy vehicles) lane between the Ripollet junction, which provides access into Barcelona on the C-58 motorway, and Meridiana Avenue in the centre of Barcelona, one of the most important access routes into the city.

The City of Barcelona has a population of 1.5 million, and an area of 99km², while the metropolitan area has a population of about 4 228 000, over an area of 3 240km², and with an average density of 1 307 persons/km². Car ownership is estimated at about 410 cars/1 000 of population. While Barcelona is a highly centralised city, recent years have seen a marked depopulation from the centre, with the growth of a secondary ring of satellite population centres extending beyond the urban area. This general trend towards decentralisation of population however, does not support public transport use, and it is estimated that on average about 154 000 vehicles per day use the C-58 road.

Promoting sustainability

The aim of the project is the overall improvement of the transportation system between Barcelona and El Vallés, by increasing the smoothness of traffic flow which in turn will help promote public transport and the sustainable use of private transport. This project is the most ambitious and expensive of its type undertaken to date in Barcelona, promoting bus use and sustainable private transport, with the aim of increasing the average occupancy of 1.2 people per vehicle.

The Bus-HOV lane will run for a total length of 6.8 km, with two dual lanes for the exclusive use of buses and for private vehicles, such as cars, which must carry a minimum of at least three passengers. The lane itself will be placed in the middle of the C-58 road. To achieve this, an elevated section will be built above the central lane. A second section will run at ground level and the motorway will be widened.

Likely benefits

The principal objective is to reduce the daily traffic congestion on the C-58 highway, which is particularly detrimental to public transport, to increase public transport reliability and to increase the overall commercial speed of the vehicles allowed on these lanes. It is estimated that improvements to the 6.8 km of highway between the Ripollet junction and Meridiana Avenue, will generate an annual benefit of €3 206 667 in terms of value of time gains, energy savings and reduction of GG (Greenhouse Gas) emissions. In May 2007 the Department of Environment and Habitat of the Generalitat de Cataluña declared the project in compliance with environment protection requirements.


Draft date

28/09/2011