Gava has a population of 50,000 citizens, most of whom use the train to get to Barcelona for work. The daily commute is somewhere between 30 and 60 minutes. To encourage people to use the train as their preferred mode of transport, Area Metropolitana de Barcelona has thought about how it can help people get from home to the station faster. The solution they found was to create protected bicycle parking.
Bike parkings operate for free in order to get more people to use bicycles instead of cars. As people get used to cycling and the demand for safe bike parking spaces increases, the plan is to allow the first parking day for free and then there will be a charge for the period beyond 24 hours. Such a parking lot has a capacity of 150 places, which can be accessed with the help of a special card issued by AMB. Little by little, the transition is being made from access cards to mobile applications, where it will be possible to see how many spaces are still available in a parking lot.
25 municipalities have already placed 150 such modules that are used by 25,000 citizens. As we saw during our visit, the parkings are popular with people. The fact that they can get quickly and safely with the help of cycle paths to the station and know that it is impossible for someone to steal the bicycle has convinced a lot of users to give the parking lots a chance.
Currently, due to the explosion of an electric scooter in a train, access with this type of vehicle in the carriages has been prohibited, but scooters can also be left in perfect safety in the bicycle parking lots. Additionally, should a cyclist find they have a problem that requires an emergency repair, there is a toolbox in each parking lot for those who know how to make a repair.
Another method of trying to promote active mobility is through renting electric bikes. Electric bicycles are available in 15 municipalities. There are 2,500 such bikes that can be unlocked by scanning the QR code through the dedicated app. The application works on the basis of subscriptions between €25 and €65 per year. The first 30 minutes are free, then for every half hour there is a fee of €0.50. A bicycle can be rented for up to two hours, after which it must be returned to one of the stations marked on the map.
Active mobility is one of the solutions to combat traffic and pollution generated by cars. The fact that AMB has thought of ways to integrate cycling with public transport is a lesson for urban communities that want to free people from the dependence on cars. In addition, because we are talking about the municipality of Gava, a neighbor of Barcelona, we can learn how to think about transportation at a metropolitan level. The solution is not to concentrate people in metropolises, the solution must be to create efficient transport services that connect urban areas. In the case of the relationship between Gava and Barcelona, the preferred service is the train, but we can also think of bus routes, car sharing services or even connections through cycle paths.
This article is part of the EU Commission project Functional Areas in the EU