We incorporate the most modern technology to improve the public transport services, make them easier to use and to protect the environment.
Discover some of the projects we are innovating:
As part of our commitment to universal accessibility, TMB has developed technological support tools for people with disabilities: for example the Sigthos program, which makes our customer service centers more accessible for those with impaired hearing; the Avicus portable device that warns blind people about ongoing works on the metro, and magnetic induction loops, available with the audioguides on the Barcelona Bus Turístic, for people with hearing aids or cochlear implants.
Work has also be done on two pilot tests with a pioneer mobile app, developed by TMB, ONCE and Vodafone, aimed at helping blind and visually impaired people to find their bearings with the help of radio frequency beacons in metro stations and at bus stops. More information is available about this project in the Hora Punta magazine and on the TMB Notícies web page.
Another project to improve the autonomy of users with visual impairment, is the implementation of intelligent NaviLens tags on the metro and bus. The purpose of this technology is to accurately guide their travel on public transport, through a mobile application, which reads these tags, which include a new type of QR code, called ddTags.
More information in the Accessibility and reduced mobility section.
TMB is incorporating seven new electric atriculated buses into its fleet, manufactured by Irizar and Solaris, that will provide service on route H16, the first one in the city to become completely emission-free. The new vehicles, in addition to having a fast-charge capability while in service, include signficant technological advances and represent a major step forward in terms of the environmental quality and safely levels privided by urban public transport.
The seven new buses are 18 metres long, each with a folding pantographi on the roof that couples with rapid recharging points at each end of the H16 route. using the pantograph, the vehicles are able to take on sufficient charge within the regulatory turn-round time to be able to operate the route as far as the oppposite terninus stop. This fast-charge while in service is combined with a slow overnight charge in the depot where the apropiate equipment has been installed. In this way these large capacity buses (for up to 120 people) can remain self-sufficient and remain operational throughout the whole day without having to be fitted with bulky and heavy batteires.
Apart from the double-charging system, the new buses also incorporate remarkable new technologies aimed at improving safety and sustainability:
- Rear-view mirrors are replaced by a system of smart cameras that help the driver's exterior vision; the Solaris also has ultrasonic proximity sensors in the rear.
- 270º peripheral vision system to help with manoeuvres at low speed.
- Lightweight aluminium wheels to reduce wear and improve durability.
- The Irizar has a translucent concertina section that provides more light in what is usually a dark area of the interior.
- The Solaris has automatic lights and smart windscreen washers.
- The vehicles are also equipped with the Mobileye system.
As with all of the articulated buses being purchased by TMB, the ones operating on route H16 have the following comfort and accessibility features:
- Four doors so that the front two can be used for people boarding simultaneously.
- Facilities for people with reduced mobility: reserved seating, retractable ramp, push-buttons for blind people, non-slip flooring.
- Smart buttons to open the doors.
- USB sockets to charge mobile devices, public Wi-Fi.
- Air conditioning.
In terms of comfort, electric traction provides a quieter and smoother ride.
TMB's bus network uses different dynamic systems to provide users with information in situ and in real time, thus contributing to an enhanced passenger experience.
TMB uses more than 2,500 bus stops, over 400 of which have dynamic information panels, 30 solar poles and 16 smart bus shelters, as well as information devices installed by the Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona (AMB), according to data from March 2016.
- Conventional passenger information screens (PIS) at bus stops show the estimated arrival times of the various buses operating the routes that stop there.
- This information is also shown on solar poles that use an autonomous energy system through solar panels, minimizing the environmental impact.
- Smart bus shelters, however, go even further and in addition to supplying all the information about waiting times for bus arrivals, they also provide a free WiFi connection, a mobile phone battery recharge point and a download point for municipal apps through the Barcelona Contactless service. They also feature interactive touch screens offering information on the main points of interest in the city along with information about the different public transport options available to go and visit them.
- Once on board the bus, passengers can stay informed thanks to two systems: MouTV channel monitors and passenger information screens. The information they provide includes the journey status of the bus route in real time, visual and auditory information with the name of the next stop and the route itinerary along with the connections available to other bus routes and metro lines.
Barcelona is one of the ten European cities that has carried out tests on electric buses as part of the ZeEUS Project (Zero Emission Urban Bus System), financed by the European Union and coordinated by the International Association of Public Transport (UITP). The purpose of the tests is to develop high capacity 100% electric vehicles. As well as Barcelona, cities such as London, Glasgow, Stockholm, Münster, Bonn, Pilsen and Cagliari are also taking part.
Barcelona's participation in this research and development project consists of introducing, as part of TMB's regular services, four zero-emission electric buses that employ two different technologies. Specifically, there are two Irizar standard model i2e buses, equipped with batteries that charge overnight and two Solaris Urbino model 18e articulated buses with batteries that charge at the terminus point during the day.
The first phase of testing was carried out in 2014 with the two i2e Iritzar buses. September 2016 saw the opening of the charging station and the first test runs of the Solaris Urbino articulated electric buses which began operating with passengers on route H16 on 30 January 2017.
These articulated vehicles, powered by 270 kW engines, are able to run all day thanks to the battery charging system, which recharges by means of a pantograph located on the roof of the vehicle at a station located in Zona Franca just a few meters away from the terminus of the route. The battery can be charged to a level of 80% in a period of between 5 and 8 minutes, which is sufficient for the bus to do another run.
Endesa is collaborating with this project by installing and managing the recharging points, a study of which will enable the necessary infrastructure to be designed for the electrification of the entire Barcelona bus fleet predicted to number 100 vehicles in 2024.
TMB's participation in the trials for the ZeEUS Project forms part of the TMB environmental policy. With the incorporation of electric vehicles into the bus fleet, we continue our progress towards improving the environment and our goal of having totally clean public transport.
Projecte ZeEUS came to an end in 20 March 2018 after strongly promoting 100% electric buses. The closing ceremony was held in Brussels, where the results of the different zero-emissions bus solutions tested in European cities, including Barcelona, were presented.
For more information you can consult the articles about electric buses on the TMB news website and the ZeEUS Project deck on Slideshare.
TMB is one of the 39 partners from 12 different countries taking part in the ASSURED project, which is all about the electrification of urban transport vehicles through advanced rapid charging solutions. The main objective of the project is to boost the number of zero emission urban fleets using this system.
ASSURED is co-financed by the European Union and coordinated by the Free University of Brussels under the leadership of the International Association of Public Transport (UITP). Participants include transport authorities and operators, vehicle manufacturers, suppliers of electrical energy and charging infrastructures as well as various associations, consultancy companies and city councils.
With the goal of encouraging the adoption of zero emission electric traction vehicles by commercial and passenger fleets, the project is based on the following key areas:
- Development of modular solutions for new-generation high-powered chargers (up to 600 kW).
- Interoperable and scalable solutions for high-powered charging.
- Development of testing of efficient wireless charging up to 100 kW.
- Assessment of the cost, energy efficiency and impact on the electricity grid.
- Testing of the solutions developed from ASSURED on five public transport buses in European Union cities according to the TRL 7 definition.
- Support for standardization bodies (e.g. CEN-CENELEC, ISO, IEC).
- Protocol for standard compliance and interoperability tests.
Within the project, the UITP heads up the activities connected with electric buses and coordinates with end users. Barcelona is taking part in the second phase, along with Osnabrück (Germany), to test the operability between different brands of buses and chargers during real-time operation. Gothenburg will do the same thing with buses and trucks while Eindhoven will test smart charging for large-scale fleets.
In May 2013, TMB introduced three bi-articulated hybrid buses into the fleet of the new bus network. These vehicles are 24 meters long with a passenger capacity of 164 people. They are the first vehicles of this size to be dedicated to urban passenger transport in the whole of Spain.
The three buses operate the H12 route, which runs the whole length of the Gran Via. Their external appearance can be identified by their integrated fairing, streamlined front and double articulation, as well as the fact that they have four axles and four doors.
With these incorporations, TMB has positioned itself at the forefront of operators worldwide in terms of innovation applied to public transport and passenger quality of life, being the first in Europe to operate 24-meter long hybrid-driven buses on urban routes.
More information on the page devoted specifically to bi-articulated buses.
In February 2017, 54 articulated hybrid buses were incorporated into the fleet. These 18 meter-long vehicles, manufactured by Solaris and Volvo, are the same models as the 27 that were put into service at the start of 2016.
These vehicles use the parallel hybrid system, a technology that combines electric traction with a diesel motor. They are also equipped with a ‘start-stop’ system that switches the engine off every time the vehicle comes to a halt. These innovations reduce fuel consumption and emissions by 30% compared with buses in service up until now.
As with all articulated buses built for TMB since 2015, they have four doors, meaning that passengers can board using both of the front two doors, thus reducing the time spent at stops.
They also have three ticket validating machines, push-buttons to open the door when the bus comes to a halt at a stop and USB sockets so that passengers can charge their mobile devices. Moreover, as all the vehicles are new, they incorporate features to assist people with disabilities and reduced mobility, such as reserved areas, retractable ramps, tactile push buttons for the blind and non-slip flooring.
The new buses serve to rejuvenate the vehicle fleet and to further improve the environmental quality of the bus service.
More information on articulated hybrid buses on the news website.
Mobileye is a technology that uses a system of light and audio signals to alert drivers to possible impacts before they happen. It also collects information on points along the public highway where there is a high concentration of risk.
In September 2017, a pilot test was started on this smart accident prevention system with the installation of the Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) on two 12-meter long hybrid vehicles that mainly service bus routes 6 and 34. Throughout 2018, TMB will incorporate Shield Plus technology into 23 vehicles of Barcelona's bus network and equip 20 further buses with a perimeter vision system in order to determine how these systems can assist drivers on the urban bus network. The City Council of Barcelona has also taken part in the test by installing the system in five municipal vehicles.
The system alerts the driver in advance of possible impacts, thus providing an opportunity to avoid them. The artificial vision cameras positioned on the bodywork of the bus constantly sweep the surrounding area, especially the blind spots that the driver is unable to see in the external mirrors. This provides initial assistance, with the emission of audio and light warnings in real time, designed mainly to avoid dangerous situations for pedestrians and cyclists. Furthermore, this system permits the tracking of anything that happens on the road including identifying situations of risk through to monitoring the driving techniques of the different drivers in order to help them perform better; it is therefore an important improvement in terms of safety, sustainability and efficiency.
A study by Innovations Deserving Exploratory Analysis concluded that buses around the world with this system installed reduced the possibility of a head-on collision situation by up to 71.6%, that reports of cyclists and pedestrians being run over or of blind spots decreased by 43.3% and that there was a 58.5% drop in the number of accident claims.
The future of metro networks lies in automation to achieve greater safety, reliability, flexibility and economies. And Barcelona boasts Line 9/10, Europe's benchmark driverless train route, featuring advanced technology for controlling and monitoring trains, station architecture and innovative operational management. Furthermore, there is Line 11, a conventional line that has now been automated.
Find out more in the Automated Metro section.
Since July 2014, the Passeig de Gràcia metro station on Line 3 has been operating like a mini smart city. Throughout the day, factors such as temperature, humidity, exterior weather conditions and passenger volumes are all monitored. According to this information, adjustments are made to the station's subsystems such as lighting, mechanical escalators and ventilation. The way these systems operate is designed to reduce energy consumption without users even noticing.
This is an initiative of the European collaboration project SEAM4US, co-financed by the 7th Framework Program (FP7) of the European Union.
If the experiment produces positive results, the plan is to explore the possibility of introducing it at other stations within the metro network, so long as the investment required is minimal. This project forms part of TMB's environmental policies that we aim to make compatible with the needs of our service.
More information is available in the Hora Punta magazine.
It is the heart and brain of the metro network from where, day and night, we ensure that the network runs efficiently and on time on both the conventional and automated lines. Using radio and video communication systems assisted by remote controls, we coordinate train traffic, station equipment, energy use and ventilation, solving problems and keeping passengers informed.
For more information, please refer to the document The Barcelona Metro Control Center shown below.
We take advantage of technological advances to help you save time and plan your journeys by bus and metro, no matter whether you are actually travelling on the transport networks, at home or out and about:
- TMB App: this is an app for mobile devices that helps you to get around using public transport. There are multiple personalization possibilities based on a profile created through JoTMBé, although it is not necessary to register to be able to access basic information. Information about TMB App.
- iBus Next bus: this is a free mobile or web app that uses information about the Barcelona bus system to make real time calculations of how many minutes it will take for the next bus to get to your stop. Information about iBus Next bus.
- Amazon Alexa incorporates a TMB feature that allows you to find out the service status of the metro and the arrival time of the next bus.
- Information screens on the bus and metro networks: Passenger information screens at bus stops let you know how many minutes it will be before your next bus arrives and also about any potential changes to the service. The passenger information system on board the buses advises what the next stop will be both visually and audibly. The metro passenger information system uses luminous panels on the platforms, ticket halls and at access points to advise how long it will be until the next train arrives and any potential changes to the service.
- TMB website: the corporate website provides route planning services such as Journey planner, flags up amendments to services, gives information on the different transport tickets and passes and facilitates contact with customer service centers by means of a variety of forms. The website provides all the information needed by regular users as well as visitors to the city, as well as full corporate information about the company. It can be viewed using any device and is accessible to people with visual impairment.
- Social Media: TMB users can follow us through our various social media accounts, whether looking for service information in real time, obtaining general information about public transport in the city, keeping up to date with the latest news about the company or interacting with us.
- MouTV: this is an information, service and entertainment system broadcast via monitors positioned on platforms, metro trains and throughout the bus network. More information about MouTV.
- Journey planner: this is an interactive tool that helps you to move around and plan your journeys on public transport. Find out how Journey planner works.
With JoTMBé TMB metro and bus users can always have to hand all the information they need to plan their journeys on public transport. It can be accessed from any device: browse the TMB website from your desktop computer, mobile phone or tablet or else download the TMB App.
JoTMBé provides users with:
- A personal space within the website designed specifically to manage preferences according to the journeys you make most often.
- A direct check on any service disruptions on the routes you use most often.
- The creation of email service alerts, allowing you to stay up-to-date with any alterations planned for the routes, bus stops and metro stations you have saved as favorites. The app sends you information in advance about alternative transport possibilities you could use.
- The opportunity to save the most frequently used places and journeys and to check them on the website and app with just one click. The app can also quickly tell you what the recommended routes are for your journey by public transport, showing the nearest bus stops and metro stations to the address you need to get to.
- Information on major changes to bus and metro services, the possibility to win rewards with the JoTMBé Loyalty Program and to receive a regular newsletter with information about TMB and public transport.
- Buy tickets and travel cards more quicklly and convenietly through TMB App.
In September 2016 TMB launched a new corporate portal that was quicker, more user-friendly, clearer and more efficient. Even though the previous TMB website was accessible, had AA certification and was adapted to the needs of all its users, the new website was constructed with responsive technology so that it can be accessed from different kinds of devices, adapting itself to new website consumption trends via mobile phones and tablets. It also means that anybody, no matter who they are, can browse the website from any device and access the full range of content.
The TMB Foundation also has its own web space, designed to publicize the company's ongoing activities in the fields of patronage and social responsibility. The TMB Foundation website echoes the same image and uses the same technology as the corporate portal.
The purpose of changing to the new website was also to improve the user experience, making browsing more comfortable and intuitive and providing a new structure to make it easier for every user profile (regular customers, visitors to the city, businesspeople, job seekers, etc.) to gain universal access to specific content in a more direct way.
TMB, with its commitment to universal accessibility, works on continuous improvements to offer a transport network adapted to all types of users. The TMB information systems reflect this goal. The work that goes into the continuous improvement of accessibility has led the company to winning various awards and recognitions in this field.
MouTV is an information service system delivered via video monitors promoted and managed by TMB for its bus and metro networks.
The development of the new video broadcasting system in collaboration with JCDecaux, the world's leading outdoor advertising company, required a great technological effort to make the system operative on platforms, trains and buses as well as creating the contents manager through which the program schedule is kept up to date.
With this commitment to information, TMB assumes its place at the international forefront of technology applied to improving the quality of service and customer satisfaction.
In September 2019, a new advertising platform was set up in line 5 between Hospital Clínic and Diagonal stations. This was the forerunner of a project to be extended to other sections. The platform, located inside the tunnel and visible from inside trains, can reproduce short videos synchronized with the trains passing.
In order to be able to view the advertising, a set of led columns are fastened to the wall of the tunnel, separated by 52 cm. They reproduce 10-second video clips, so that inside trains they are perceived as a single video screen. Similarly to cinema, the human eye interprets a chain of fixed frames as a single moving picture, with the difference that on the metro, the movement of people on the train replaces the movement of the film.
For optimum viewing, the video has a high definition resolution and refreshes at a rate of 30 frames per second. In this way, the system provides image quality and fits the size of the upper windows, which provides similar systems in other networks.
Over 2,000 advertising platforms have been installed in the Barcelona metro network, of different sizes, locations and characteristics: from simple fixed posters to illuminated advertising signs, through innovative supports incorporating moving images.