Street Management Improvements for Loading/unloading Enforcement (SMILE): Barcelona (Spain)

By News Editor / Updated: 29 Aug 2014

The SMILE project implemented junction measures (Eixample District) and has piloted a combined-use lane along Balmes Street (Sant Gervasi District). Both were successful in improving the availablity of kerbside space for goods delivery access, and this has improved the general circulation of road traffic

Background and objectives

Goods distribution in cities is widely recognised as vital for achieving and maintaining an efficient and strong economic base. However, it is typical daily practice to find goods vehicles inadequately parked for carrying out loading/unloading activities and this also disrupts the general circulation of traffic. The objectives of the SMILE in Barcelona (Street Management Improvements for Loading/unloading Enforcement) project were to:

  • Obtain a better knowledge of the patterns of on-street goods deliveries, including measures of the extent of current problems (very few cities in Europe have carried out surveys to determine the volume and pattern of urban road freight movements),
  • Bring together the operators of this sector so as to identify their (sometimes conflicting) needs,
  • Develop measures, for implementation and piloting, that respond to inadequacies identified in kerbside space provision, signing and enforcement.


The following actions have been realised in the SMILE Barcelona project:

  1. data collection and analysis of goods deliveries in the city,
  2. definition of new regulations and implementation of signed zones at junctions in the Eixample District of Barcelona together with re-organisation of police enforcement leading to improved space availability and control, and
  3. combined-use lane pilot implementation in Balmes street between Pl. Molina and C. Marià Cubi.


Before and After observations were carried out in 1997 to determine the effect of the improved signing and enforcement of traffic regulations. Based upon a comparison of observations at four junctions (of the 700 where measures were implemented) the following results were achieved:

  • The level of space occupancy reduced from 81% to 57%;
  • The increase in space availability is partly due to less parking actions occurring in the After situation;
  • But the larger part of the reduction is attributable to the shorter stays of vehicles that park in the zone. The average length of stay of vehicles observed to carry out un/loading operations decreases from 19.54 minutes to 17.89 minutes.

In the special lane, the measures have resulted in the elimination of illegal parking by residents. During the hours that the lane is dedicated to loading/unloading the goods delivery vehicles can always find a place to park - double parking no longer occurs. As a result of the improved discipline in lane usage, junction capacity along Balmes is optimised during peak hours and the levels of saturation have been reduced with a corresponding improvement in traffic circulation. The VMS signals are highly visible and this has contributed to the overall success of the scheme.


In the SMILE project, the Municipality has successfully designed and implemented measures that have improved the availability of kerbside space for goods vehicle loading/unloading. Both junction and section measures have been designed and trialled, and the Municipality intends to extend the implementations of these measures to other appropriate locations within Barcelona.


For more information: Barcelona City Council


Urban freight/city logistics
Traffic and demand management
News Editor
on-street loading bays
regulations (weight
loading time
09 Feb 2012
29 Aug 2014