TRAFFIC EFFICIENCY & MOBILITY

Catalonia

SUPPLY AND DEMAND

Clic.cat: The new digitalized transport on demand brand in Catalonia

TRANSPORTS ELÈCTRICS INTERURBANS S.A. was founded on 13 March 1920 in the town of Banyoles – it provides the fleet for the Clic.cat service in Girona, © Department of Territory and Sustainability

Since 1991, the Generalitat de Catalunya has implemented on-demand transport services with the collaboration of local entities. Today 235 on-demand transport lines serve more than 736 towns in Catalonia. As of 2020, the Government of the Autonomous Region has further stepped up its game by creating the new service called ‘Clic.cat’, as Cristina Pou Fonollà explains

Transport on demand is an agile and efficient way to ensure access to public transport services in rural settlements and low-density urban areas. It provides citizens with an easy and sustainable transport option to meet their mobility needs and allow them to access health, social and service hubs.

Catalonia as a POLIS Member

Transport lines on demand in Catalonia, © Department of Territory and Sustainability

Furthermore, transport on demand is a service stemming from requests made by citizens: this means that it is closely tied to user needs, rather than being a simple top-down operation. For all these reasons, it is easy to see how the Government of Catalonia – also known as Generalitat de Catalunya, has decided to invest on a similar service for its citizens and visitors.

Digitalise to revitalise

The Generalitat de Catalunya has implemented on-demand transport services with the collaboration of local entities over the past 30 years: 235 on-demand transport lines serve more than 736 towns in Catalonia. In the past, reservations were made by phone, but as of 2020, the Government of the Autonomous Region – and more specifically, the Department of Territory and Sustainability – has upped up its game by creating a new digitalized service called Clic.cat.

Clic.cat

Clic.cat responds to the demand-based transport model that was already in place, but it digitalises it, thus facilitating and speeding up the process of booking transport services for all citizens. The digitalisation process is pretty straightforward: in collaboration with private operators, the Government has developed different apps in function of the territory covered. The different apps – for iOS and Android – have the main goal to cover the largest number of users as possible. The different apps include all existing on-demand transport services in Catalonia, and are going to be advertised on vehicles and in brochures, as well as at bus stops.


Evolution of on-demand transport passengers in Catalonia, © Department of Territory and Sustainability

The Generalitat de Catalunya has implemented on-demand transport services with the collaboration of local entities over the past 30 years

Setting the rules for a sustainable and inclusive mobility

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that the recipe for sustainable mobility entails an efficient public transport offer – one that can be adapted to the needs of each area and caters for a different demographic. Metropolitan and denser areas need certain solutions for regular public transport, whereas scattered interurban areas with less dense population need different ones. In this sense, when the Department of Territory and Sustainability began implementing transport services on demand thirty years ago, it knew it had to collaborate with local councils and county councils in order to get its plan to work. The National Mobility Guidelines of Catalonia establish that all areas of the territory must have public transport fitting their mobility needs – in particular, guideline n.1 provides for the implementation of alternative public transport systems in rural areas and states the will to improve its connection to the main public transport network. In addition, guideline n.25 highlights that it is necessary to develop different mobility planning instruments (on-demand services, but also home-to-school transport offers and more) and improve access to public transport by focusing on the pivotal connection between the scattered and less-populated areas and the municipal and county capitals of Catalonia.

Filling the blank space

Out of all mobility planning instruments, on-demand transport fits Catalonia’s work in regards to this urban-rural connection like a glove – as it especially meets user demands in rural and low-density areas, it works as a complement to the already existing bus lines and fills this blank mobility space accordingly.

What is more is that with on-demand transport service, it is not only possible to offer territorial coverage where public transport network is lacking, but it is also possible to give a great sustainable mobility alternative to groups and the elderly who live in isolated municipalities and who do not have other mobility alternatives.


Out of all mobility planning instruments, on-demand transport fits Catalonia’s urban-rural connection work like a glove

Evolution of on-demand transport passengers in Catalonia, © Department of Territory and Sustainability


On-demand and public transport: when one hand washes the other

In 2019, a total of 59,200 passengers used on-demand transport services in Catalonia, which is the highest historical number of users to date and represents an increase of 15.6% users from 2018. In 2020, the service was naturally affected by the pandemic: however, it did also recover much faster than traditional public transport – users shifted to on-demand services when the already existing bus lines were suspended or reduced, as well as when the collective trust towards public transport hit a low.

TRANSPORTS ELÈCTRICS INTERURBANS S.A. was founded on 13 March 1920 in the town of Banyoles – it provides the fleet for the Clic.cat service in Girona, © Department of Territory and Sustainability

As Covid restrictions are slowly being lifted, the recovery rate is accelerating for both on-demand and public transport and Catalonia is still very much positive about the future of Clic.cat and its contribution to the existing public network in ensuring territorial cohesion and equity, while fostering sustainable mobility.

Cristina Pou Fonollà is Head of Public Road Transport at the Government of Catalonia - General Directorate of Transports and Mobility. Contact her: cristina.pou@gencat.cat

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