The AMB has a wide network of transport infrastructures to meet the mobility necessities of the territory, including local and regional trips. This network is in constant process of improvement and expansion to ensure a good coverage and a quality public service.
Historically, these infrastructures have followed a development model parallel to territory use, and thus respond to the mobility necessities caused by the increase of residential and industrial land. Commuters' movements are determined by the distance between their homes and the location of both their work places and the services centres. This distribution, together with the territorial conditions and social habits, has made private transport a necessity for most everyday activities and it means a real challenge for public transport. Moreover, a good structure for goods transport is vital for the Barcelona area and its main nodes, represented by the port and the airport. The functionality and quality of this system is crucial to economic recovery in the region.
To respond to mobility needs, the AMB has a powerful network of transport infrastructures. Thus, Llobregat Delta has one of the largest accumulations of infrastructures in southern Europe, in such a way that within a radius of less than 7 km there are connections between all passengers and goods transport forms: sea transport, through the port; air transport, through the airport; railway transport, through conventional and high-speed rails; and road transport, through a large network of motorways, dual carriageways and roads structuring the metropolitan area.
Despite that the AMB needs, so as to ensure the development of its great economic potential, to correct the historical deficit in infrastructures that can only be overcome with an intense collaboration of state, regional and local administrations.
With the arrival of high-speed railways in Barcelona and their recent deployment up to the French border, the exterior connexion of the metropolitan area has substantially improved. But the establishment of high-speed lines in the city will not become completely true, from a functional point of view, until the end of the works of the new Sagrera rail station and the remodelling of Sants rail station.
Despite the large number of lines concentrated in the core of the metropolitan area of Barcelona, the intensity of mobility flows produces situations of saturation in much of the network during rush hours, causing deficiencies in the service. To relieve these points, the AMB has planned several significant activities, such as the finalisation of L9 and L10 metro lines, the lines intersection of Torrassa, the extension of L2 and L4 metro lines, and the expansion of Rodalies and FGC networks. Yet another milestone in passengers transport is the railway access to T1 at Barcelona Airport.
The structure of the goods network in the metropolitan area consists of two main axes: the Mediterranean axis and the Ebre axis, which converge in the stretch of Tarragona - Barcelona - Girona - France. The improvement in railway transport is essential to balance the current situation, in which goods transport is mainly carried out by road (93.2%) compared with the one done through the railway system (6.8%). This rebalancing is essential to be able to keep a sustainable and ecological economic growth.
The implementation of the Mediterranean Corridor will allow the shared use (mixed transport of passengers and goods) of high-speed lines corresponding to both the conventional Iberian gauge and the international European gauge lines, which will allow trains running from Spain to France, along the mixed gauge diversion line of Castellbisbal - Mollet and Port Bou.
Currently, goods can already be transported on the European gauge line, from the port of Barcelona to France, but the connection to Tarragona, Castelló, València and southern Spain is still unsolved and, besides, the goods railway connection is another pending issue that should be solved with two important actions: the definitive railway access to the southern extension of the port of Barcelona and the goods stations in the old riverbed of Llobregat River.
Road network is organised into three structures: the central system, consisting of Barcelona Rondes and their distribution accesses to outer roads; the main axes of distribution and territorial structure, and the bypass defined by B-30 road. This system connects with five external nodes, represented in the following map.
Barcelona Rondes are one of the most important infrastructures of the metropolitan road system. They are high capacity ring roads with medium traffic intensities exceeding 166,000 vehicles, which surround the city without interfering with the urban interior network. They are divided into two turnoffs: Ronda Litoral, sea side, and Ronda de Dalt, mountain side. The management of this infrastructure is carried out by the AMB through an agreement between the County Council of Barcelonès and its board. Barcelona Rondes have a total length of 36 km, of which 8.5 are tunnels.
The road system connecting the principal municipalities and the main residential and activity centres of the metropolitan area of Barcelona is determined by the basic road network and urban roads, although some future activities have already been planned to complete passengers and goods transport. There are cases, for example, the Badalona - Mollet tunnel, the port access through A-2 road, the extension of Ronda Litoral and the construction of a specific road for heavy vehicles covering Castellbisbal - Cornellà - El Port.
Port and airport
Port of Barcelona
The port of Barcelona has always been one of the basic elements of Catalan and Spanish economies. It has nearly 40 specialized and multipurpose terminals to manage different types of traffic existing in the port. It depends on the public body of State Ports of the Ministry of Public Works, and it is managed by the Barcelona Port Authority.
The second Strategic plan of the port (2003-2015) supports the idea of making it the main access point for passengers and goods from southern Europe. For this purpose, hard work is developed on the expansion of ZAL (logistics activities area) and on the improvement of the railway connectivity that, through the Mediterranean Corridor, should facilitate the access of port goods to European markets.
The container terminal of the company TERCAT Hutchinson operates since summer 2012, with an area of 100 hectares and a capacity to handle 2 million TEUs/year, estimated to reach 10 TEUs/year with the completion of the southern expansion.
The port of Barcelona has also become the first European port regarding cruise traffic and the fourth home port in the world. It currently has seven maritime terminals exclusively dedicated to cruise traffic and in the near future the company Carnival, leader in this sector, is going to build the new E terminal in the Moll Adossat area, which will be operational in 2016.
Barcelona-El Prat airport
Barcelona-El Prat airport is located only 3 km away from the port of Barcelona and it is crucial for tourism and logistics industries at a national and international scale. The Barcelona Plan transformed the airport with the construction of a new terminal area, the expansion of the airfield with a third runway and other relevant infrastructures to improve accessibility and intermodality.
Barcelona-El Prat airport is one out of 46 general interest airports in Spain, managed by the public company AENA (Spanish Airports and Aerial Navigation), under the Ministry of Public Works. The airport management model established by AENA is characterized by managing all general interest Spanish airports jointly in a network, integrated and centralised, thus creating a unified airport system.
From the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, the airport has undergone a significant passenger's traffic increase, growing from 10 million in 1992 to 35.1 million in 2012.
In the coming years, railway accesses are going to be improved by Rodalies line and metro L-9. This will facilitate intermodality through communication with Sants and Plaça Catalunya nodal stations, located just 15 km away.