With approximately 90,000 residents, Sant Cugat stands out as an innovative smart city in the Barcelona province. The city is dedicated to prioritizing pedestrian spaces and encouraging eco-friendly public transportation options, including alternatives like Demand Responsive Transport (DRT), as part of its mobility initiatives.
Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) services often cause some initial hesitation among stakeholders such as transport operators, local authorities, and commuters, with concerns about potential disruptions to existing transportation services that function effectively and have a significant ridership. These apprehensions tend to surface once the initial enthusiasm and novelty surrounding the implementation of an innovative mobility system begin to diminish.
In Sant Cugat, a different scenario unfolded, as both the City Council and the local transport operator, Moventis, were unequivocal from the outset about the reliability of Demand Responsive Transport (DRT). They emphasized that DRT posed no threat to the established transportation network; rather, the new addition seamlessly complemented it. This strategic integration aimed to enhance service quality, improve the user experience, and reduce operating costs.
The successful implementation of DRT was evident as new operational zones were swiftly scheduled and deployed throughout the city. Currently, Sant Cugat boasts three distinct DRT operations that work in tandem with the train line and traditional buses that run on fixed routes and schedules.
Sant Cugat inaugurated its first Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) service in July 2017, introducing a route designed to facilitate commuter travel from the Can Barata neighbourhood to the train station. The second service commenced in March 2019, catering to the outlying hilly region of Les Planes. Within a few months, in December 2019, Shotl, the transportation solution provider, implemented a new route in Can Trabal, the third DRT service operating within the city limits.
As of today, all three operations are still operational, and ridership numbers continue to climb. The Can Barata service has experienced a remarkable five-fold increase in demand compared to the previous traditional service. In Les Planes, ridership tripled within a span of 10 months, and in Can Trabal, there was a notable 12% increase in just 6 weeks.
The local community in Sant Cugat has effectively embraced smart city mobility and technology. Sant Cugat residents can now get around more quickly and conveniently without having to rely on private vehicles. Older and younger generations can also travel independently.
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